Eighty percent of Americans suffer from low back and neck pain at some point in their lives. Let that sink in. With such great odds that you—or someone close to you—will one day become a statistic, wouldn’t it make sense to arm yourself with preventive strategies and knowledge? Physical therapy is a good place to start.
By performing a thorough evaluation, our physical therapists can identify the muscular, postural, and skeletal limitations that could one day lead to an episode of back pain. As part of the assessment, we will observe as you perform a series of movements and then gather an account of your daily activity levels and environmental factors like operating machinery or working at a desk 40 hours a week.
The therapist will then use all of this knowledge to design a personalized exercise program and teach you a few strategies to prevent back pain:
• Use good body positioning at work, home, and during recreational activities.
• Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
• Hinge from the hips rather than arching your spine.
• Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
• Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen—staying active can help to prevent injuries.
Maintain an active lifestyle
Lifestyle can play a big role in back pain. Inactivity and incorrect body mechanics while participating in certain activities are two of the biggest contributors to back pain. It’s also helpful to pay attention to little things throughout your day that could add up to bigger problems down the line. Let’s go back to that desk job for a minute: How often do you get up to walk, stretch and move throughout the day? A good rule of thumb is to stand up or move every 30 minutes.
While low back pain rarely becomes serious or life-threatening, it can be quite painful and interfere with our daily lives. Working with one of our physical therapists can help you identify the factors that might contribute to back pain and help develop a prevention plan. Our healthcare professionals are also great to turn to if you’re seeking treatment for back pain or hoping to prevent a recurrence.
With such good odds that you could one day become a low back pain statistic, why not do everything in your power today to change your trajectory? Seems like another good reason to find an activity (or better yet, two or three activities) that you enjoy, make it a regular part of your day, and stick to it!