Reducing Your Risk of Low Back Pain and Sciatica
QuitYou can reduce your risk of developing low back pain and sciatica by reducing the stress on your back. Guidelines for reducing stress on your back include:
- Support your back when lifting, standing, and sitting.
- Practice good posture.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Manage stress.
- Do not lift heavy objects alone.
- Plan ahead and ask for assistance with lifting or moving heavy objects.
- When lifting, squat down next to the object, hold the object close to your chest, maintain a straight back, and use your leg muscles to slowly rise.
- Avoid excessive, prolonged, or forceful bending or twisting of your back.
- Avoid sitting for long periods. When you do sit, choose seats with good lumbar support, and use a footstool to raise your knees to hip level. You may be able to use a standing desk at intervals, to help avoid prolonged sitting.
- Avoid standing for long periods. If you need to stand, place a low footstool in front of you and alternate placing each foot on it for a period of time. This will take some of the load off your back.
- Do not drive for long periods. Take a break every hour to stop, get out of the car, and stretch your back.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Stress management classes
- Relaxation techniques
- Breathing exercises
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Freedman MK, Saulino MF, et al. Interventions in chronic pain management. 5. Approaches to medication and lifestyle in chronic pain syndromes. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 89(3 Suppl 1):S56-60, 2008 Mar.
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Pain. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokewebsite. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic%5Fpain/detail%5Fchronic%5Fpain.htm#Spine. Accessed October 27, 2008.
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2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report. USDA website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines. Accessed October 26, 2008.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014
- Update Date: 12/20/2014