Health A-Z

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Prevention

You can help prevent some forms of back pain by strengthening your back with exercises and by avoiding activities that lead to back injury. Measures that may help prevent back pain include:

  • Maintaining good posture.

  • Sleeping on your side or on your back with a pillow under your knees if you can.

  • Exercising regularly, but stretch before and after.

  • Practicing abdominal crunches to strengthen abdominal muscles, which support your lower back. Also, walk or swim regularly to strengthen your lower back.

  • Always lifting objects from a squatting position, using your hips and your legs to do the heavy work. Avoid lifting, twisting and bending at the same time.

  • Avoiding sitting or standing for extended periods of time.

  • Wearing soft soled shoes with heels that are less than 1 and one-half inches high.

To help prevent osteoporosis, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D daily to meet the dietary requirements for your age group. Follow a routine program of weight-bearing exercise. Avoid smoking and limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you are a woman who has entered menopause, speak with your doctor about testing for osteoporosis and medications that can help to prevent or reverse it.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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