5 Everyday Tips to Prevent Back Pain

Feet shoulder width apart, bend at knees.

Feet shoulder width apart, bend at knees.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

If you are suffering from back pain, you know this all too well. Back pain is one of those ailments that is painfully easy to acquire and unnervingly difficult to banish. And yes, those puns were intended.

Even if you're already suffering from back pain, you can prevent it from getting worse. You can also prevent new forms of back pains from developing. A pain in the back can come from a myriad of causes, after all. And if you're lucky enough to be living pain free, let's keep it that way!

Here are five ways to prevent common forms of back pain:

Lifting to Avoid Back Pain

Start by separating your feet shoulder-width apart. This will give you a solid base. Next, start bending at the knees. Grab the object and lift with your leg muscles as you stand. If what you're trying to lift is too heavy for you, don't do it by yourself. It's not worth the damage, trust us!

Carrying to Avoid Back Pain

Once you have that heavy object in your grasp, hold it close to your body and keep your knees bent slightly to help maintain your balance. Avoid twisting your body at all costs. If you have to turn, point your toes in the direction you'd like to go and pivot your entire body that way. If you have to place the item on a shelf above you, move as close to the shelf as you can, spread your feet in a wide stance and position one foot slightly in front of the other. Do not lean forward, and do not fully extend your arms.

Avoid Lifting and Carrying Altogether

If at all possible, don't lift or carry anything heavy. It sounds like one of those “easier said than done” kind of things, but you'd be surprised how many people hurt their backs by lifting something that could have been transported with a roller bag or dolly. If you can, hire movers to do the heavy lifting. They are professionals and should know how to lift without hurting their own backs.

Be Smart About Backpacks

A heavy backpack is a recipe for almost certain back pain, but there are few alternatives that help students and travelers carry the mounting weight of books and computers. So instead of ditching the packs altogether, try to make smarter choices. Choose a lightweight backpack with two wide, padded, adjustable shoulder straps. A waist strap will help redistribute the weight from the shoulders to the pelvis. And if at all possible, consider getting a rolling pack. This will take almost all of the strain from the back.

Stretch!

Stretching helps keep the piriformis muscle relaxed and flexible. The muscle is located deep to the glutes and is a common culprit of low back and buttocks pain. A relaxed piriformis muscle can help relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve, which is a nerve that when compressed, can cause all sorts of pain. A regular stretching regimen before and after activities is a great method of prevention. If you groan at the thought of stretching or aren’t terribly flexible, then consider stretching with the Piri-Stretcher®, our patented therapy tool designed to make it easy for you to effectively stretch the piriformis muscle. 

Prevention and relief, smart habits, and wise choices...living pain free isn't a given, but every positive step we take can help make a difference.