Low Back Pain Prevention 101

Low back pain prevention is actually quite simple and comes down to 2 main rules.

1. Don’t bend your back.
2. Don’t twist your back.

If you can keep these 2 rules during your daily functioning, you will not injure your low back. Low back injuries typically occur in one of these two positions. For example, bending forward to unload the dishwasher or twisting to put laundry from the washer into the dryer. The more weight you are holding when you do one of these things, the higher risk for low back injury. Obviously in your daily life you need the mobility to be able to do some bending and twisting, but if bending or twisting must be done, do it the right way. If not, you may be getting P.T. soon.

So how do you bend without hurting your back? First, you have heard the old saying: “bend with your legs, not with your back.” Squat instead of bending forward. Use your legs to their advantage. They were made to do the work of lifting. Your back was not made for that. Stick out your bottom in order to keep your back straighter when squatting (such as when you brush your teeth). Keep your vertebrae in the same position as when you are sitting upright or standing tall.  That is the only stable back position.

How do you twist without hurting your back? Avoid twisting by turning your whole body instead of twisting your back. Take more steps with your legs so that your back stays straight. If you must twist, do so very slowly and without holding much weight. Take your time when doing housework or yardwork tasks in order to do them without twisting. Shift weight from one leg to the other while doing things like sweeping or raking. Be cautious with vaccuuming, laundry and outdoor power tools; check your back position as you do these tasks.

Lastly, especially avoid forward bending and twisting together!!! That is a recipe for a low back disaster.

Have you hurt yourself doing housework or yardwork the wrong way? Please share your story.

Published by lizbnavarr@gmail.com

I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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