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Tips for Preventing Your Back Pain From Becoming Chronic

Tips for Preventing Your Back Pain From Becoming Chronic

General back pain is a fact of life for most people. It’s estimated that about 80% of the US population will experience back pain at some point in their life. In fact, back pain is the third most common reason people visit the doctor, behind skin disorders and joint pain. Most people recover from their back pain; however, about 8% of adults suffer from chronic back pain. 

While back pain may be unavoidable for some, there are often many simple adjustments you can make in your life to alleviate current back pain and avoid future episodes. Some simple tips can make a big difference. 

Do you have back pain that just won’t go away? If so, come in to see the team at Kai Sports Medicine in Little Silver, New Jersey. Dr. Zachary Perlman, a board-certified internal medicine and primary care sports medicine specialist, is an expert on back pain. Here, he discusses common causes of back pain and tips that can help you prevent chronic back pain. 

Back pain causes and risk factors

Medical causes of back pain include muscle strain, bulging or herniated discs, and arthritis. Muscle strain causes can vary widely, from a sports injury to lifting a grocery bag that’s too heavy for you. Although often framed as a joke, you really can get back pain from sleeping in the wrong position, as your muscles can be strained for hours as you sleep in an odd way. 

Risk factors for back pain include: 

Age is the most common risk factor. Muscle elasticity and tone decrease as you age, and discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility as well, putting more pressure on your vertebrae. It’s for these reasons that most people experience their first bout of back pain between age 30 and 50. 

Back pain tips

There are steps you can take to avert long-term, chronic back pain and experience more pain-free days.

Exercise for your back

Weight gain and low fitness levels are both risk factors for back pain, but you shouldn’t run to the bench press first if your goal is to avoid back pain. The best exercise routine for back pain combines aerobic exercise, such as swimming or walking, with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back muscles and abdomen, like tai chi, yoga, and weight-bearing balance routines. 

Check your posture

Many people spend eight hours a day hunched over at their desk while they work on a computer. Their workday ends and they mix things up by spending the next several hours slouched out on the couch. So much slouching and hunching can strain your back muscles and cause serious pain. 

When you’re at your desk or on the couch, try to sit in ergonomically correct positions or even get an ergonomic chair for work hours. When you do need to spend hours at the computer, break up the sitting time with stretching exercises.

Stop smoking

You can add back pain to the list of reasons you may want to put down the cigarettes. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, making smokers more vulnerable to disc-related pain. 

Lift correctly

Always lift with your legs and not your back. Even if you’re physically able to lift something, you can injure your back by lifting incorrectly. Repeatedly picking up objects incorrectly can also cause damage. If a box or object is too heavy for you, there’s no shame in asking someone for help. Your back will thank you. 

Are you experiencing back pain? To get an accurate diagnosis and learn about prevention and treatment options, call 732-369-9765 to book an appointment with Kai Sports Medicine. You can also request an appointment through this website.

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