Don’t Let Low Back Pain Stop You from Exercise in the New Year
Feeling Merry This Christmas? Careful: Heavy Lifting May Cause Low Back Pain!
Despite the best intentions, a large segment of those resolving to exercise more in the New Year will be on the sidelines. The cause? A variety of injuries and conditions ranging from stress fractures and twisted ankles to the biggest culprit of all, low back pain.
A Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors study recently cited low back pain as the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Estimates indicate that 80% of us contend with the common ailment at some point in our lives. The intense and debilitating pain that accompanies low back injuries often prevents sufferers from going to work, participating in household chores and enjoying time with loved ones.
Believe it or Not: Physical Activity Beats Inactivity to Reduce Low Back Pain
Low back pain doesn’t have to be a prescription for couch surfing. Current studies show no evidence that supervised physical activity increases the risk of additional back problems or work disability. Counter to the age-old recommendation of inactivity, a customized exercise program under the direction of a physical therapist is widely prescribed to reduce pain and disability.
Although back pain can affect anyone, the major risk factors include age, poor physical fitness, genetics, being overweight, and smoking. The National Institutes of Health suggests the following to prevent back pain:
- Exercise frequently and keep your back muscles strong.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a balanced diet, including daily recommendations for calcium and vitamin D.
- Focus on body mechanics by standing up straight and lifting heavy objects with bent legs and a
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, low back pain sufferers should prioritize a supervised exercise program and a gradual return to everyday activities to restore back strength. Following an evaluation, physical therapists can recommend specific exercises to prevent and treat back pain, and provide additional treatment options to address pain and restore mobility