Preventing Low Back Pain

Lifting

When lifting a heavy object, position your body directly in front of it to lift, then make sure to carry it close to your body. Bend your knees so your legs, not your back, bear the weight. When carrying the item, turn your feet instead of twisting your back.

At the Office

When at your workstation, use an upright chair that has good back or lumbar support. The monitor should be positioned so your head and shoulders are relaxed and you don’t have to crane your neck. Also, keep your mouse close to your body. Remember to do easy exercises at your desk, such as backward shoulder rolls, and get up frequently to stand straight and/or walk.

Wearing Backpacks

Low back pain doesn’t just affect adults. The main cause for children’s low back pain is their backpacks they wear to school. To help children maintain proper form, physical therapists advise that backpack contents should be limited to 10 to 15% of the child’s body weight. Wearing both straps will keep weight distributed properly. The backpack should rest evenly in the middle of the back, it should not extend below the lower back. When packing your child’s backpack make sure to organize the contents by placing the heavier items closest to the back.

Travel

During long drives, stop every hour or so to stand up and move around. You can also place a rolled up towel behind your back at approximately waist level to provide lumbar support while driving.

Shoveling

Whether you’re moving snow or mulch, shoveling is typically a repetitive action. Use a shovel with a shaft that is not too short (causing you to bend more to lift) or too long (making the weight at the end heavier). While lifting, keep your back straight and avoid twisting the spine while shoveling. Stepping in the direction you’re moving instead of bending the back, can help to avoid next-day fatigue. Finally, take frequent breaks to stand straight and walk.

Gardening

When gardening, support your back by bending at the knees to avoid straining. If you must kneel, use knee pads to absorb some of the pressure. Always keep one foot on the ground while kneeling. Use a wheelbarrow to move heavy items and change positions frequently to reduce stiffness.