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Basic Back Rules to Live By:
How to be kind to your back

If you are experiencing back pain, please refer to the section of this website dealing with Troubleshooting Pain and the page massage and exercise.

To learn more about prevention and the causes and treatments for back pain read the articles on back and neck pain.

  1. Maintain the three normal curves in your back when doing an activity.
  2. Develop and/or maintain good abdominal strength.
  3. Improve your general fitness level and flexibility. Running, swimming, and aerobics and weight training all increase strength and stamina and should be a part of your daily routine.
  4. Avoid sudden, jerky movements which might "overload" your muscles during an activity.
  5. Warm up your body prior to lifting.
    1. Do not exceed your limitations (e.g., duration of work, weight/size of object).
      • Ask for help -- it will take much longer to recover from an injury than to take time to get help or reduce a load.
      • How high does it have to be lifted? Use appropriate tools to elevate the load.
      • How far does it have to be carried? Use a cart if necessary.
      • Will this lifting be a regular job requirement? If so, determine if you can perform this task on a regular basis and not cause stress to your back.
      • Am I trying to impress anyone by lifting this? Ask for help.
      • Treat an injury immediately; don't work through pain.
      • Listen to your body and it will tell you when something may be wrong.
      • If you cannot lift safely, don't do it!
      • Push, don't pull loads.
      • If you are seated, do not bend over to pick something up off the floor. Squat down and stand up straight from the floor.
    get help!
    pull loads
    Know your own strength.


    • Back straight

    • Face your work

    • Feet apart

    • Use your legs

    • Lift smoothly

    • Arms close to body

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