While none of us can avoid the normal wear and tear on our spines that accompanies aging, there are certain practices that may help prevent recurring low back pain. We tell our Florida orthopaedic patients that a healthy lifestyle – featuring the following guidelines – is a great place to start!
• Exercise. When muscles that support the spine lack strength and endurance, the back is susceptible to both injury and chronic pain. Combine aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, with toning exercises to keep the muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible.
• Proper lifting. Too much lifting, bending or twisting often leads to back pain since the lower back supports most of the weight of the body and is subject to the most mechanical stress. Be sure to lift heavy items with your legs, not your back. Do not bend over to pick something up. Instead, keep your back straight and bend at your knees.
• Weight. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts added pressure on your lower back.
• Avoid smoking. Repeatedly, studies indicate that smokers are much more likely to develop low back pain. Both the smoke and the nicotine cause your spine to age faster than normal.
• Proper posture. Poor posture increases stress on the muscles, spinal joints and discs. Sitting for long periods of time is particularly detrimental to your back health. A physical therapist can teach you how to safely sit, stand and lift.
Improving your physical condition and incorporating proper body mechanics will likely help enough for you to do all the activities you want to do. For more information or help with nagging low back pain, please contact Fort Lauderdale Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at (954) 400-5544. We’ll help you get your life back!