Back to the Basics: A Guide to Preventing Back Pain

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chronic back pain

An everything-you-need-to-know guide to preventing back pain.

It’s easy to take your back for granted, until it hurts. That’s when it dawns on you, once again, just how essential your spine is for everything you do each day’s standing, walking, sitting, bending, carrying things and more. So, it’s no wonder back problems can be so debilitating. Chronic low back pain is the second leading cause of disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it appears to be on the rise.

Unfortunately, all too often, doctors and those with ongoing back trouble aren’t using the treatments that have the best evidence for effectiveness behind them, according to another study by UNC researchers. That trial concluded that narcotic medications are overused, while antidepressants and exercise aren’t tried often enough. The majority of lower back pain issues are more mild stretching or tendon-tearing, rather than deeper injuries to the disc or pinched nerve, says Neal Alpiner, M.D., a neurorehabilitation specialist at William Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat the chronic low back pain; it means we shouldn’t over treat the back pain, which suggests, too, that you don’t need your doctor to give you an optimal back pain-management plan. In fact, you could follow the advice we’ve gathered here in our everything-you-need-to-know guide to preventing back pain almost none of it requiring even a doctor’s visit and probably see a big decrease in the frequency and severity of your pain. If a person were to take the following nine steps, they would greatly reduce their risk of back problems and shorten the recovery period should a back problem arise, Alpiner agrees. Read onto get started on a healthier, happier back today.

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Stacey Colino is an award-winning writer specializing in health, fitness, psychology and nutrition. Her work has appeared in dozens of national magazines, including Prevention, Health, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Parents, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping and Real Simple. In addition, she is the co-author of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well with Dr. David Katz; Strong Is the New Skinny with Jennifer Cohen; Good Food – Fast! with Chef Jason Roberts; and Just Your Type: The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Training Right for Your Body Type with Phil Catudal.
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