How to Prevent Back Pain


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Back pain: how to live with one of the world’s biggest health problems

Your doctor may be able to refer you for CBT, or you might like to consider going private. Keeping socially and physically active is an important part of helping with low mood and anxiety, and it also helps with pain. Simple things, such as joining a local leisure centre, sports club, walking group, gardening group, or just getting out and seeing friends for a coffee on a regular basis might really help you. Amitriptyline acts to relax muscles and improve sleep.

Prevent back pain

This approach will help to lower the risk of side-effects, which can include a dry mouth, drowsiness and blurred vision. If you experience these side-effects you should stop the medication and discuss this with your doctor.

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Read more about amitriptyline. Although they might not help much with back pain, they may help sciatica by reducing irritation of the nerves. They may need to be taken for six weeks to begin with, and sometimes longer. You should discuss this with your doctor. Another type of injection, called radiofrequency denervation, might be used if it is thought that the back pain comes from natural changes that happen over time to the small joints in the spine called facet joints.

Your doctor will send you to see a specialist, to discuss if injections might be an option for your back pain or your sciatica pain. These injections are not always successful, but they do help some people. Very few people with back pain need an operation. Sometimes an operation is needed for spinal stenosis or for severe sciatica to free the nerve, although most doctors would recommend trying other measures first, including medication, physiotherapy or injections.

Urgent surgery may be needed if you lose bladder or bowel control or the use of your legs, but this is extremely rare. This will help your back pain itself, as staying active and keeping the back muscles moving will help you get better sooner. In the past, people were advised to rest up in bed and we now realise that it does more harm than good and that it's better to keep moving, even if you need to take some simple painkillers to allow you to do so.

Most people are able to return within days, although the length of time off work varies with the individual and the type of job you do. If your work involves heavy lifting or other physically demanding tasks, you may need to do lighter duties and fewer hours for a while. If you have an occupational health advisor through your job, they can help advise what work you are fit to do and arrange any simple adjustments to your work or workplace to help you to cope and stay at work.

If you're unable to get back to work after two weeks of absence because of your back pain, you should talk to your GP and employer about getting physiotherapy or other treatment to get you moving again. Our research has helped to improve the management of lower back pain. Researchers at our primary care centre in Keele developed the STarT Back Tool, which is used to help clinicians when deciding what treatment is needed for patients with lower back pain. This targeted approach to treatment has been shown to lead to a reduction in patient-reported disability, fewer days off work and significant cost savings to both the NHS and the wider society.

This study will examine how people with and without low back pain move and function, and the results will help physiotherapists to deliver the right care to patients in the right way, making physiotherapy more effective and leading to improved outcomes and quality of life for patients.

Our researchers are looking closely at bony lumps caused in spondylosis known as osteophytes, and the problems they can cause by putting pressure on nerves. Zebrafish are good models to use because of surprising similarities within their anatomy to the human spine. Most cases of back pain get better on their own within a few weeks. Lie on your back, knees bent. Bring one knee up and pull it gently into your chest for 5 seconds.

Repeat up to 5 times on each side. Lie on your back, hands above your head. Bend your knees and roll them slowly to one side, keeping your feet on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side. Lie down with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles flattening your back against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Holding onto something for support if needed, bend one leg up behind you. Kneel on one knee, the other foot in front. Facing forwards, lift the back knee up. Your pain should ease within 2 weeks and you should recover over approximately a week period.

Exercise is the most important way that you can help yourself if you have back pain. Start off slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. You can also try taking some painkillers beforehand. Over time, your back will get stronger and more flexible and this should reduce pain. Any regular exercise that helps to make you flexible, stronger and increases your stamina is good, for example:.

Tips for avoiding back pain during desk jobs

You can also download the selection of back exercises mentioned above PDF, 1. If you stop being active for a long time, the muscles in your back become weak and you become less fit. This can make your pain worse. Exercise also releases chemicals called endorphins.

These can improve pain and make you feel happier. Find out more about exercising with arthritis and what types of exercises are beneficial for certain conditions. We use cookies to give you the best experience.

How to prevent back pain

By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. I'm AVA, the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, and I'm being trained by Versus Arthritis to give you general information about your condition and how to manage your symptoms.

I can suggest exercises and tell you about medication. I've been built using artificial intelligence powered by IBM Watson, and I learn and improve through every conversation. Whenever you use me, you're indirectly helping another person get the answers they need. I respond best to clear, simple questions about one type of arthritis. For example, "What exercises should I do? If you need help from a real person here at Versus Arthritis, you can call our free helpline on Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant.

If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window. If you would like to share any additional feedback with us, please email supportercare versusarthritis. The AVA provides general information. If you need more information or have any concerns, speak to a healthcare professional. Call us for free help and advice on your type of arthritis. Calls are recorded for quality purposes.

Versus Arthritis About arthritis Conditions Back pain. Back pain. Share on Facebook Tweet LinkedIn. What should I know about back pain? Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives. How your back works The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength. The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it. Spondylosis As we grow older, the bones, discs and ligaments in the spine can naturally weaken as they age.

Sciatica Back pain is sometimes linked with pain in the legs, and there may be numbness or a tingling feeling.


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Most people recover fairly quickly, although in some cases it might take a number of months. Spinal stenosis Sometimes back pain is linked with pain in the legs which starts after you start walking for a few minutes, and then tends to get better very quickly when you sit down. This can happen from birth or can develop as we get older. Other causes Other rarer causes of back pain include: bone problems such as a fracture — often linked to thinning of the bones, which is known as osteoporosis an infection a tumour inflammation, for example in the condition ankylosing spondylitis.

When to see a doctor Even though it's common, most cases of back pain tend to clear up without the need to see a doctor. You should see your doctor if your pain: is really bad lasts for a long time stops you from working or doing the things you enjoy affects your everyday activities gets worse. What are the warning signs of a serious problem?

Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention: difficulty controlling or passing urine loss of control of your bowels numbness around your back passage or your genitals serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.

Managing your symptoms The most important things to do to treat back pain is to keep moving, continue with everyday activities and have a healthy lifestyle. In fact, too much rest can make back pain worse. Keep moving Staying active is the most important way you can help yourself if you have back pain. Examples include: swimming walking yoga Pilates going to the gym. Painkillers Simple painkillers such as paracetamol may help to reduce symptoms and allow you to continue with your everyday activities.

A warm bath or hot shower can have a similar soothing effect. An ice pack bought from a chemist, or even just a bag of frozen peas, can also be helpful. You may find that alternating between heat and ice therapy throughout a day or week can help. You could experiment with hot and cold packs to find what works best for you. Posture Try to maintain good posture when sitting at home, at work or in the car. Complementary medicine There are many different complementary treatments that are believed to help with pain relief, and some people do feel better when they use them.

Acupuncture Sometimes acupuncture might provide pain relief. Massage Massage is a manual technique which uses rhythmic strokes, kneading or tapping actions to move the muscles and soft tissue of the body. Lifting correctly Learning to lift correctly may help to prevent further episodes of back pain. Diet and nutrition There are no special diets that have been shown to either help or prevent back pain. Pain management programmes Pain management programmes may help you control your pain and teach you how to live with long-term pain.

Treatment Taking some painkillers, staying active and doing some specific exercises are generally the most helpful treatments for people with back pain. Therapies Drugs Surgery. Therapies Physiotherapy Physiotherapy can be useful to improve your strength and flexibility. Occupational therapy If your back pain is causing problems with daily activities such as dressing, washing and driving, you may find it useful to see an occupational therapist.

Amitriptyline Amitriptyline acts to relax muscles and improve sleep. Surgery Very few people with back pain need an operation. Working with back pain Getting back to work sooner rather than later will help most people with back pain. Research and new developments Our research has helped to improve the management of lower back pain. Knees to chest Lie on your back, knees bent. Back stretch Lie on your back, hands above your head. Pelvic tilt Lie down with your knees bent. One-leg stand Holding onto something for support if needed, bend one leg up behind you.

Deep lunge Kneel on one knee, the other foot in front. Summary Back pain is common but most cases aren't caused by a serious problem. Stay active. Bed rest for more than a couple of days makes it harder to get going. Gradually increase your normal activities and do regular exercise. Take painkillers if needed so you can stay active.

You should carry on with the exercises for at least weeks to help prevent another injury. If the pain is severe or not improving after a week or so, contact your doctor.

Why is your lower back so prone to injury?

Exercise also releases endorphins — your body's natural painkillers. Any regular exercise that helps to make you flexible, stronger and increases your stamina is good, for example: Exercises that may help include: swimming walking yoga or Pilates going to the gym. One of the best ways to prevent back pain is to keep your back muscles strong. Follow these steps to help protect your back and prevent back pain:. Back pain can be acute short term or chronic long term. It can feel like a sudden, sharp pain or a dull, constant ache.

Lower Back Pain Stretches and Exercises to Prevent Injury

Acute back pain usually gets better on its own, without any treatment. Find out when to call a doctor or nurse about back pain. Most chronic back pain can be treated without surgery. Find out about ways to treat back pain. Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. You are more likely to experience back pain as you get older. Get tips on staying active with a disability. Lift things with your legs, not your back. Get help if the load is too heavy for you to lift alone. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury.

What should I know about back pain?

Staying safe at work can help you prevent injuries. Staying at a healthy weight lowers your risk of back pain. If you are overweight, losing weight in a healthy way can reduce the strain on your back. Osteoporosis makes your bones weaker and more likely to fracture break. Content last updated on: January 30, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Search healthfinder. Find us on: Get Email Updates. Print This Topic. Prevent Back Pain. Take Action!

The Basics The Basics: Overview One of the best ways to prevent back pain is to keep your back muscles strong. Follow these steps to help protect your back and prevent back pain: Do back-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 days a week. Avoid heavy lifting. If you do lift something heavy, bend your knees and keep your back straight. This way, your leg muscles will do most of the work.


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    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
    How to Prevent Back Pain How to Prevent Back Pain
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