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Preventing and treating back pain

13 September 2018

Most of us will have a minor back problem at one time or another. In most cases it will get better and go away by itself in a few weeks. If your symptoms are severe or you still have symptoms after two weeks of self-care, it’s best to see your doctor.

TIPs and tricks to prevent back pain

  • Practice good posture:
    • Standing - stand upright with your head facing forward and with your back and legs straight. Balance your weight evenly on both feet.
    • Sitting - sit upright and ensure that the small of your back is supported. Your knees and hips should be level and your feet flat on the floor. If you work in an office, make sure you know how to adjust your chair and change your posture regularly by getting up from your workstation every 30 minutes.
  • Get regular, low-impact exercise. Walk, swim, or ride a stationary bike. Stretch before you exercise.
  • Try different sleeping positions to protect your back.
  • Don’t try to lift things that are too heavy for you. When you must lift, learn the right way to lift.
  • Manage your stress levels, as back pain can be a symptom of stress.

HOw can you care for yourself?

There are several things you can do at home or at work to alleviate the symptoms of back pain.

  • Rest. If your back hurts a lot, take it easy. However, it’s best not to stay lying or sitting for too long. Return to your daily activities slowly.
  • Use a heating pad or ice pack. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Exercise. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders and stomach can help improve your posture, decrease your chance of injury and reduce pain.
  • Avoid heavy lifting as it may make the pain worse.