Back pain is a very common problem and the reason for many days of missed work. Back pain can occur at any age and is not just due to aging or the development of arthritis. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent or reduce the severity of back pain if you do not have a serious injury or aggressive arthritis.

Being overweight is one of the most common causes of back pain. Overweight people seek medical treatment for spine-related problems at a much higher frequency than people of normal weight. Being overweight puts unnecessary strain on the back, and also can cause damage to knees and ankles. Obese people tend to exercise less than people who do not have a weight problem. The lack of exercise magnifies the back pain problem because of the gradual weakening of the muscles that aid the spine in carrying the body's weight.So, with the knowledge that excess weight contributes to back pain, one of the first steps to take is to lose weight. This can be done through both diet and exercise.

Once you lose a little weight, exercise becomes easier and the muscles that are important to back health can begin to regain their strength. Your weight should stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight.Strengthening the abdominal muscles can help reduce chronic back pain and reduce the risk that you will experience flare-ups of pain. Along with strengthening muscles, it is also a good idea to gently stretch the muscles to reduce the risk that overuse will trigger new rounds of back pain. Start your exercise program with patience and in small steps, and you will be amazed at how much progress you can make after just a few months.

Smoking is another risk factor that contributes to back pain. Smokers experience more back pain than non-smokers because smoking harms small blood vessels, reduces the flow of nutrition to muscles, and slows the tissue repair process.

Other things to keep in mind include lifting things the correct way. Lift with your legs, not your back, and keep the heavy object as close to your body as possible. When moving something heavy, push it rather than pulling it. If you have to reach for something above you, stand on a stool or ladder to make reaching easier and less of a strain on your back. You can take pressure off your lower back when you have to stand for a long time by standing with one foot forward of the other, and when you must sit for long periods, reduce back strain by placing your knees slightly higher than your hips. When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees, or if you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.

Simple steps can help to prevent or reduce the intensity and frequency of back pain and make life more enjoyable and productive.

Peruse our site and look through our articles to see if we can help you with your health questions. Remember, though, that only your healthcare professional can diagnose and recommend specific treatments for your health issues. We are here to give you a knowledge base that you can use to better understand your doctor's orders and to help you know what questions to ask.