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How to prevent low back pain

There are some things you can do to help prevent low back pain. And they can prepare you for faster recovery if you do have low back pain. Some of them also have added health benefits. Here are tips to follow:

Exercise to keep your back healthy and strong. Exercise programs that include aerobic conditioning and strengthening exercises can help reduce the recurrence of low back pain. For more information, see:

Fitness: Increasing core stability.

Low back pain: Exercises to reduce pain.

Learn how to lift objects safely to protect your back. For more information, see:

Back problems: Proper lifting.

Protect your back while sitting. Standing posture is also important. When you stand, your ears, shoulders, hips, and knees should be in line with one another.

Try different sleeping positions  that protect your back. If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, use a pillow under your knees. You can also try rolling up a small towel and using it to support your lower back.

Wear low-heeled shoes.

Maintain a healthy weight to avoid excess strain on your lower back. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.

If you’re a smoker, quit. Smoking increases your risk of bone loss (osteoporosis) and increases your sensitivity to pain. Smoking also interferes with blood circulation by tightening the arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow, and by decreasing the amount of oxygen the red blood cells can carry. Spinal discs do not have their own blood supply, but receive nutrition in part from the blood supply to the vertebral bones above and below them. Decreased circulation may increase the speed of degeneration and/or slow the healing of the discs. For more information on how to quit, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Eat a nutritious diet. Getting plenty of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis, which can lead to compression fractures and low back pain.

Manage the stress in your life, both at home and at work.

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