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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

How to Prevent a Herniated Disc and Other Back Injuries

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:11 AM

Illinois Back Institute Herniated DiscAlthough it requires a little forethought and planning, preventing back injury is actually a lot easier than dealing with the resulting back pain. It’s not always possible to prevent accidents that may injure the back or avoid back pain completely, especially as we age and when dealing with other medical conditions. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile to get into good habits that can help you avoid a herniated disc and other back injuries whenever possible. Some often overlooked back-protection tips:

  • Build your core strength: Make regular exercise a part of your life and include back, abdominal, buttocks, hip and thigh strengthening exercises. Consistency is key. Training only on weekends or before an upcoming event can actually cause injury. Work up to becoming stronger over time--and stick with it.

  • Maintain healthy body weight and eating habits. This is common sense, but bears repeating because it’s key to overall health and body strength. It’s hard to exercise and build muscle strength without the right fuel—and with too much body weight working against you. A healthy diet helps your body bounce back if you are injured.

  • Work on your posture. Consult your physician or physical therapist to help you properly align your body when standing, sitting, lying down/sleeping and lifting. We’ve given proper posture tips here before, but if you want to get the idea of what correct posture “feels like,” to be sure you maintain proper position, a professional can help.

  • Lift smart. Use any tools at your disposal in the workplace and home to help you lift heavy or large objects. Don't depend on a “back belt,” even if supplied by your employer, to keep you from being injured. Is there a dolly or cart that can make the job easier and safer? Try making more than one trip with lighter portions of the load. Get help if you need it—or wait until you have help to lift. If you decide to lift, ensure the item/box is properly packed. If something shifts while you’re lifting, you could be injured. If there’s a safe way to do so, store heavy items closer to waist level so you never have to bend to lift them.

  • Lift and move items correctly. Face the load you’re planning to lift, don’t try to lift while twisting at the waist. Squat when lifting heavy objects, rather than bending at the waist. When squatting, keep your head up, shoulders back and spine erect. Only bend at the hips, knees and ankles. Get a solid grip on the object and, with your head up, use leg muscles to lift. Keep the object close to your body--and squat to set it down--the same way you lifted it. When using a cart to move heavy items, there’s generally less chance of injury if your push the load, leaning into the object, rather than pulling. Take rest periods as needed—when you’re hurried or tired you can get careless with your lifting technique.

Remember how important it is to keep the body in the best shape possible with exercise and diet, to be consistent, practice good posture and plan ahead if moving heavy items—you’ll have the best chance to avoid back pain from herniated discs and other injuries. Manage your stress level and save your lifting (when you can) for the important things in life, like the kids or grandkids.

If back pain strikes despite your preventive measures, contact the Illinois Back Institute for a free consultation. We specialize in proven, all-natural, non-invasive techniques, like Functional Disc Rehydration. This innovative treatment, developed by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer, D.C., helps rejuvenate spinal discs to restore pain-free function.

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Topics: herniated disc, Functional Disc Rehydration, Back Pain