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Simple Ways to Avoid Back Injuries

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Back pain is a very common ailment among thousands of people every day. It does not have to rule your life or compromise your way of living if you can learn to employ some simple techniques and measures to avoid the back injuries that contribute to the nagging pain in the first place.

Back injuries do not have to come as a result of something traumatic, like a sports injury or an automobile accident, either. If you sit at a desk all day, you are at risk for some sort of back injury or lingering pain. Simple every day tasks performed can pose a risk of back injury.

It is important to keep stress and weight off of your spine, either when engaging in demanding physical activities or when in a sedentary position. On the web site www.everydayhealth.com, Dr. Nick Sharmie, associate professor of spine surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine, notes that it is important to pay attention to proper body mechanics. If not, the spine will be subjected to forces that can contribute to back injury and back pain. In other words, pay attention to how your spine works when lifting, sitting, walking, standing, and even sleeping.

According to Dr. Sharmie, when lifting something, be sure to engage your legs as opposed to your back. “Keep your back straight rather than bending at the waist,” he advises. “Do not bend at the waist and lift with your back.”

To avoid a back injury, think through how you will lift something and position your feet at least shoulder-width apart. You need a wide base of support. When lifting the object, keep it close to your body to avoid excess stress on the spine and back muscles.

Sharmie also advises strongly against twisting your body while lifting. With the winter months creeping upon us, many will be out shoveling the snow off of their driveways. Sharmie cautions that “twisting your back while loading it with weight is one of the worst things you can do.” When you go out to shovel that walk, point your toes in the direction of where you intend to toss the snow off the shovel. You definitely do not want to shovel, twist, and toss. That is a back injury just waiting to happen!

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Pat - Thanks for your comment! I plan to use the info about massage therapy to convince my husband that either (1) he needs to give me regular massages or (2) he needs to get used to the fact that I may get one per month! HA! Wish me luck!

Have a great evening!

November 19, 2009 - 6:50pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Ann - Great advice! Being out of commission from back pain is miserable. I learned a lot from your article, and had no idea that sleeping on one's stomach could cause back problems. Ouch! Of course, I did know that massage can be very helpful - just can't get enough of massage therapy. :-)
Take good care,

November 19, 2009 - 6:30pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.