How to handle back pain
Back pain is a very common issue for many of us. In fact, 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares her tips to keep back pain at bay.
What causes back pain?
Nurse Rose: Back pain or discomfort can have a number of potential causes. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Poor posture at work
- Being obese or overweight
- Repetitive movement such as bending over or lifting heavy objects
How can we prevent back pain?
Nurse Rose: Managing back pain really starts with taking steps to prevent injury. Here are a few tips tip keep your back in good shape.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your back muscles strong with regular exercise and strength training twice per week.
- Stretch your muscles, especially before and after exercising and before heavy lifting.
- Focus on good posture, by keeping your back straight and your shoulders and hips in alignment.
- Lift properly by bending at the knees and keeping the item close to your body. Do not twist your body when you’re lifting something heavy.
- Avoid carrying a heavy purse or bag. Instead, try keeping what you need in your pockets or carrying a small bag.
- Sleep on a medium- to firm mattress
How can people experiencing back pain manage it?
Nurse Rose: Of course, we cannot prevent all back pain. If you’re experiencing back pain, try these tips.
- Ice the affected area within 24 to 72 hours of injury
- Heat therapy – you can try alternating cold and heat therapy if you have chronic pain
- Stretch your hamstrings
- Take regular walks
See your doctor if your pain persists, gets progressively worse, radiates to the leg or causes loss of strength or balance changes.
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.