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Natural Ways to Prevent Back Pain

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Fitness
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is an extremely common complaint. In fact it is estimated that up to 90% of all Americans will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, with over 50% experiencing more than one episode. There are a variety of causes of back pain that can make diagnosis and treatment quite complex.

In fact, the cause of back pain may not reside in the back at all but may be referred from ailments of other internal organs. As with most other health concerns prevention has many benefits over cure. Adopting a few simple commonsense measures can make a huge difference to the health and well being of your back.

Maintaining strong healthy muscles including back muscles is without doubt one of the most effective ways to help stave off back pain. Regular moderate exercise is essential for achieving strong muscles. Appropriate flexing and stretching together with exercise appropriate to the individual level of fitness is recommended.

Over half of all Americans today are overweight. Excessive weight places extra strain on the spine and back muscles and is a common cause of back problems. Maintaining an optimal weight will help reduce these issues. An adequate and balanced diet is vital to maintain a healthy spine and back. Healthy diet promotes healthy bones and muscles and avoids the strain of obesity or excess weight.

Bad posture is another common culprit for backaches. Slouching and awkward posture puts additional strain on the spine and back. Maintaining good posture helps keep the spine in a neutral position keeping strain to a minimum.

Using safe and appropriate body mechanics also helps avoid back problems. Avoid putting unnecessary strain on the spine by providing it adequate support, for instance by bending legs and spreading the load when lifting heavy objects. Avoid twisting and jerking awkwardly when exerting back muscles.

Adequate rest and adequate support for the back during rest - Sleeping position can play an important role in back ailments. Sleeping in a fetal position, on one's side, is generally considered the most stress free position for the back while sleeping face down puts the most strain on neck and back. The importance of using a mattress that provides back and lumbar support cannot be stressed enough. A pillow of the correct height that supports your neck and ensures correct spinal alignment is vital. Current research suggests that a medium firm mattress is best for back support. Avoid pillows that force your neck and head up at awkward angles.

When sitting for extended periods of time ensure your seat provides sufficient back support. If necessary, use a pillow or cushion in the small of the back to help maintain its natural curve.

As indicated earlier back pain may not necessarily be reflective of a problem in the back but may be referred from other internal organs. Hence maintaining general good health will also help reduce back pain. Healthy diet, regular exercise and periodic medical checkups are strongly recommended.

While back pain is becoming increasingly common it is clear that adopting some simple commonsense strategies can do much to prevent this scourge and keep it under control.