2 simple tips to prevent lower back pain

2 simple tips to prevent lower back pain

Lower back pain is a common reason patients seek care in a doctor's office. Although many treatment options are available for patients with lower back pain, it is much better to prevent the problem.

Not all back pain can be prevented, but following the advice may save you some agony. Below are two tips that can help you prevent lower back pain.

1. Bend your knees.

By now, you have heard the advice repeatedly to bend your knees when you lift anything, including lightweight objects. That really is good advice. Today's suggestion is to learn to routinely bend your knees whenever you pick up anything at all.

By bending your knees even a little bit, you shift more of the strain of lifting to your legs. By developing the habit now, you have a much lower chance of injuring your lower back.

Your legs are important to keeping your back healthy. As we age, we lose strength and flexibility in our legs. This leads to developing a habit of bending at the hips instead of squatting to reach the floor or to lift an item.

Even if you already have back problems, developing the habit of bending at the knees can help you restore spinal health and may help avoid future problems.

Not all back pain can be prevented. There are many reasons for back pain. For example, in our office we routinely treat patients with herniated, bulging or protruded discs, arthritis in the spinal joints, pinched nerves including sciatica, muscle spasms, weakness in the back muscles, misaligned vertebrae and many other causes. Sometimes patients with these conditions may encounter back pain regardless of how careful they are.

But I always recommend patients develop the habit of bending their knees, because it is likely to help prevent back pain from most causes. 

Even if a patient has pain in the knees, in most cases it is best to bend the knees a little bit. This will help keep the legs strong as well as take pressure off the back.

2. Perform some simple exercises.

Now that you have accepted the habit of bending your knees, are you ready for some exercises? One of the most basic is the simple lunge. 

To do a lunge, simply stand in place with your feet shoulder width apart, get balanced, then step forward with one foot.

As you place your foot one step ahead, slowly shift your body weight forward while bending the front knee. You will gradually end up in a semi-squat position with the rear leg almost straight. 

Pause for a second then reverse the movement, gradually pushing yourself upright and bringing your forward foot back to the original position. Pause, get balanced and then repeat by shifting forward onto the other foot. 

If you have any trouble understanding how to do the lunge or performing it, you should make an appointment with a provider to assist you.

Rather than simply providing patients with paper instructions, I highly recommend providers give patients personal training in proper exercises. This often plays an important role in helping patients recover from injuries and chronic pain.

By developing the habit of bending the knees and starting some simple exercises such as the lunge to strengthen the legs, you may be able to avoid lower back pain completely.

About this Angie’s List Expert: Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractor located in Muffreesboro, Tenn. Since 1988, Dr. Kestner has specialized in chiropractic care, acupuncture, pain management, sports injury treatment and much more. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @DrMarkKestner.

As of March 6, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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