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It’s estimated that 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point.  Most of us don’t learn how to take care of our backs until we have a back injury, myself included.

When I was in my late 20’s, I was pushing a shopping cart full of groceries with my 4-year-old daughter in it.  We were in a new area and I didn’t see the potholes in the parking lot. The basket started to tip, and the next thing I knew, I had a severe back injury.  I was in pain for almost two years, then was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who gave me a booklet of back exercises, and a week later I was pain-free.  I have always wondered if I had these exercises earlier if I wouldn’t have had to suffer so long.

Here are some tips to help you recover from and prevent back pain:

1. First, get an assessment of your back pain or injury so you know what you are dealing with.  Then if given the okay, try specific back exercises. For photos and instructions click here. Once on the website scroll down to the photos. You can also ask your doctor, chiropractor, personal trainer or physical therapist, for back and core strengthening exercises.

2. Get regular exercise.  Do low-impact activities, like walking or swimming, to get more blood flowing to your back muscles and to loosen them up. People who exercise regularly tend to have less back pain.

3. Take basic or restorative yoga classes, or Feldenkrais awareness through movement classes.

4. When lifting, bend with your knees, not with your back.  Hold objects close to your body, it puts less strain on your back.  And when in doubt, ask for help.

5. Take a stretch break every 30 minutes from sitting at the computer or on the couch.

6. Maintain a healthy body weight.  Carrying excess pounds puts strain on your back. If losing weight is your goal, aim to gradually lose 1-2 pounds a week.

Love, Health & Happiness,