Better Back Health: Avoiding Pain and Injury

Jay Stillman

3 min read

The second most common reason for seeing a doctor—and often a lawyer—is chronic back pain. In fact, it is estimated that from 60 to 100 million Americans suffer from back pain.

At Stillman and Friedland, we see many clients who suffer from chronic back pain, whether it is due to repetitive work injuries or sudden trauma. The good news is that you can help yourself feel better by keeping yourself fit and avoiding situations that may cause or exacerbate back injuries.

Most back problems are the result of injury to the lower back, which bears the most weight load and must also be flexible.

Have a look at why your lower back is so vulnerable:

Lumbar Spine Anatomy

With this understanding of the basic mechanics in mind, let’s look at some important tips to keep back pain at bay. The Mayo Clinic has advice which everyone can use, whether your job requires active lifting, or confines you to your chair in front of the computer. Remember that back injury is caused by these factors:

  • Strain—lifting or moving a heavy object stresses your back
  • Repetitious movement—damaging your back with cumulative smaller stresses
  • Poor posture—a combination of stress by distorting the natural position of the spine, as well as failing to use the muscles which help support your back

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Assess what you are lifting before you lift it. Push against it to see how much resistance it gives you, and see if that it’s balanced and doesn’t shift. If it’s too heavy, get help. If you can lift it, bend from the knees and not the back, tense your stomach muscles and, keeping your feet apart, and lift holding the object as close to your body as you can. Putting things down correctly is also important for back health. To replace an object, reverse the process using a squatting motion, not bending over to set it down.Remember, especially in the early days after injury, even your coffee cup is a heavy item. When you either bend over or lift anything in one hand, put your other hand down on a supporting surface for extra back support.
  2. If you lift or move items repetitively, make sure you stretch before starting. Take micro-breaks to stretch after you have performed a number of movements. If you need to carry items around, survey the terrain as you go. A sudden jolt on an uneven surface can add to back strain.
  3. Work to improve your posture by stretching and consciously using your stomach muscles. Make sure your chair is at the correct height, with your knees at right angles to the floor. Get up and stretch every 20-30 minutes. Use your lunch hour to take a walk—and walk while consciously pulling yourself up straight.

Refer to our previous post for videos and diagrams of the best stretches and be sure to work on building your “core” muscles, they support your entire body.

At Stillman and Friedland, we are here to help you all along the way to your recovery.

Because we care.

* This blog entry should not be construed as medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Only a licensed medical professional can properly diagnose and treat medical conditions. If you have any question regarding your health, please consult with your healthcare provider.