10 Easy Tips to Stop Back Pain

By Sherwin Nicholson | SN Health Resources | Updated August 28, 2018

How to Lift to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Reduce discomfort and protect yourself from injury, follow these 10 simple & helpful tips

To get the most out of your effort, make sure that you dedicate enough time to practice them.

Need even more challenges? Looking for tougher tips to help you?

1. Hold it close to you, it won’t mind

When lifting or carrying heavy or awkward objects, make sure to grasp and hold the object closely to your body.   It will help you to use your side as a support, thereby not relying only on your arms. It will also help to keep you balanced.  Very heavy objects should not be carried if you currently have a disc problem.

Hold the object closer to your hips instead of your chest.  This will make it easier for your spine and will be safer for your balance as you move.

2. Get down to it instead

Whenever you need to reach down to pick up something, do not bend or lean over.  Bend at the knees and hips to lower yourself.  Please follow this one simple rule from the How to Protect Your Back page for detailed instruction.

It reduces your chances of a lumbar disc injury or back spasm.  The exercise will primarily help to strengthen your leg muscles and improve your hip mobility.

Most people bend and rarely use the power of their legs.  This is mainly why they have pain.  The best rule of thumb is to engage the hips and legs as often as possible to protect the spine.

3. Squatting, not leaning

When picking up heavy or large items, lower yourself as if you were squatting down on a chair and bring the object closer to your centre of gravity.

As mentioned above, whether you are moving to sit, stand, bend, lie down etc., you must contract your glutes (butt muscles) as you squat.  This is protective and will relieve a lot of lumbar discomfort.  Leaning is never a good idea especially if you have any disc problems.

4. Hips & legs are the problem, not the back

If your back is suffering, it’s because your legs and hips are not doing their job. Your lower body should be a lot more active than your lower.  Hip flexibility and leg strength are key to overcoming the pain and strain.  Once you can retrain your legs and hips, you’ll be able to keep your back more stable and upright every time you need to stand, sit, walk, lift etc.

Stop leaning or bending over as a means to get lower.  Keep your hips and legs conditioned by performing the Reverse Lunge. The reverse lunge is an exercise that you can do anytime you must lower your body.  You can make use of this movement for example, when tying shoelaces, doing housework or anything that requires you to lower your centre of gravity.

5. Get off your… you know

Avoid sitting for extended periods of time.  For every 30 min of sitting, spend one to two minutes standing.  At work, use the opportunity to take bathroom breaks, get something else done, etc.
It helps to exercise the legs and to mobilize the hips.

There are many things you can do at work right now to help overcome the discomfort that it is constantly causing you.  Even while you are at your desk, there are some practical ideas you can follow.

6. When you just can’t get away from your seat, do a partial lunge

If you must sit for long periods of time, then incorporate the Seated Lunge into your day.  The seated lunge should often be done and especially if you are already experiencing symptoms of pain. This exercise helps to reduce your posterior pelvic tilt.  It will also stretch the hip flexors.  If you neglect these two areas, you will be prone to chronic pain.

7.  Think before you move, even when you’re not thinking

When you need to reach over or down to pick up or manipulate an item or object, position your body, so the object is positioned directly in front of you.

Avoid twisting to your side and never behind your (ex. reaching behind to the rear seat of your car to retrieve something.).  This is a complex movement for your spine and will risk disc injury.

When you often move this way, spasms are likely.  Unless your upper and lower body are well conditioned for this movement, you will more likely cause an injury due to the significant muscle imbalances which are there.

8. Better to know than not to know

Avoid the unnecessary use of over medicating to reduce symptoms of pain.  Chronic use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen may alleviate immediate discomfort but will not address the root causes that lead to the discomfort.

By masking your discomfort with medication, you risk further injury by engaging in activities prematurely.

Minimizing your intake of pain medication will help to make you more aware of your present injury.  Although this does not help with your discomfort, it will help to prevent you from further risk of re-injury.

Minimizing serves to extend your recovery time and increase your body’s need to repair and heal.  Excessive use of anti-inflammatory medication actually impairs the efficiency of your immune system. It is your immune system among other factors which are necessary for the repair process for your discs, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.

9. Clench away

Try to consciously contract your glute muscles (buttock clenching) before your rise from your seat or the floor.  This action engages them in contracting before your quadriceps will.

This provides more stability for your pelvis and reduces lumbar discomfort.   Healthy and responsive glute muscles are essential for relief.  Chronic sitting ‘shuts down’ natural glute activity.

10. Stretch, your time wisely

Adopt a structured, progressive and safe method of stretching.  Target muscle groups that have a known effects on the health a well being of your lumbar spine.  Target your lower back, hips and legs.  Follow this routine on a daily basis to ensure the protection of your joints and discs.

Be sure to commit the time and effort needed to follow these tips on a daily basis. They can all be done as part of your daily routine and require very little extra time in your schedule as you can perform them as part of your schedule.

For more detail on how to perform the exercises mentioned on this page, please see the section on one simple rule for pain, reverse lunging to help your glutes and doing the seated lunge when it hurts while sitting. These pages will help to ensure that you can perform these exercises correctly and safely.

If you are tired of enduring this form of chronic pain and are in need of a proven, structured, plan for relief: Search this site for more valuable help and Download the program proven to help and start today.

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References:

  1. Back Pain – The Facts – John Lee, Clare Daniel, Suzanne Brook. NY. Oxford University Press – 2009. 617.564Lee
  2. How to Build Core Stability for Lasting Relief – Gavine & Bonello. 2014. 617.56406Gav.  Allen & Unwin Publish.
  3. Management of chronic lbp – Nikolai Bogduk Med J Aust 2004; 180 (2): 79-83. https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2004/180/2/management-chronic-lbp
  4. Self-management education en masse: effectiveness of the Back Pain: Don’t Take It Lying Down mass media campaign – Rachelle Buchbinder Med J Aust 2008; 189 (10 Suppl): S29. https://www.mja.com.au/journal