Most of us have experienced a bout of back pain or at least know someone who has. As annoying as it is, most of the time, back pain will go away by itself. However, sometimes back pain can be more serious or be caused by specific conditions. Check with your health care provider or contact a HealthLink BC nurse at 8-1-1 to see if you should seek care.
The spine and back are truly amazing. The spine is made of vertebrae that are held together by ligaments and muscles. Between the vertebrae, you have spongy disks that provide cushioning, and in the centre of the vertebrae you have the spinal cord made up of nerves.
In the old days, bed rest was a common treatment for back pain. We now know that advice is not very useful. It’s now encouraged that you continue with your day-to-day activities and walking, but change your other physical activity only as you need to.
There are certain things you can do to help prevent back pain:
- Keep good posture. Aim to hold your spine in a nice neutral position most of the time; no slouching! When standing, I like to imagine a thick straight line that goes down through my earlobes, shoulders, hips, and ankles.
- Build core strength. Having a strong core can help prevent back pain. Here are exercises to get you going.
- Stretch. For some people, keeping up with their stretching seems to help ward off back pain. Avoid stretches that worsen the pain.
- Improve mental well-being. Reducing your stress levels and seeking help if you are struggling with depression or anxiety can help lower your risk of getting back pain.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight will reduce strain on your back. The Dietitians and Qualified Exercise Professionals at Healthlink BC can help you for FREE; just call 8-1-1.
- Do regular physical activity: Being active on a regular basis is beneficial. However, doing too much too soon, or using inappropriate techniques (like lifting weights incorrectly) can increase the chance of lower back pain.
Watch this video from Doctor Mike Evans explaining more about back pain.
Healthlink BC: Low Back Pain