Neuroscience

Back pain? Don’t take it lying down: 4 steps to a better back

Aching Back? Join the club. Lower back pain is one of the top five reasons Americans see their doctors.

Although you may be tempted to stay in bed until the pain subsides, prolonged bed rest can actually delay relief.

“An active lifestyle can help prevent discomfort or recurring injuries by helping you build a stronger, more supple back; improve your posture; and get rid of excess weight,” said Dr. Haroon Choudhri, director of the Neurosurgery Spine Service.

What you can do.

Follow these simple steps to improve your back health:

  1. Exercise your back — and then some. Whole-body exercise is crucial for maintaining good posture. Make sure your workouts include aerobic exercises, such as walking or swimming to stretch and strengthen back muscles; strength training and flexibility exercises to make your back more durable; and core exercises, since weak abs can stress out your lower back.
  2. Live well. Eat a balanced, healthy diet to help shed extra pounds that could be putting strain on your back. If you smoke, quit. Smokers tend to have lower levels of oxygen in their spinal tissue, which slows recovery from back problems.
  3. Get a lift. Lift objects with your legs, not your lower back. Try to perform any heavy lifting late in the day instead of first thing in the morning, when your back is less flexible.
  4. Straighten up. Use good posture with your head and neck aligned, and sit with your lower back properly supported.

Still struggling with back pain? Get the care you need close to you at our new comprehensive Spine Clinic at West Wheeler. Make an appointment at augustahealth.org/make-an-appointment, or call 706-869-1515.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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