There is a common myth that you should avoid activity when experiencing back pain and this belief can cause unnecessary, prolonged pain for some people. Often the back-pain people experience is triggered by weak muscles that don’t have the necessary strength to perform the movements being done. You can minimize back pain by strengthening your back, stomach (core), hips and thigh muscles, which will, in turn, distribute the stress of the activity throughout your body instead of placing it all in a concentrated area, namely the back muscles.

Stretching and Strengthening

Stretching your legs, especially your hamstring muscles, will help with back pain because the more flexible the leg muscles are, the more motion you have in your pelvis, which takes pressure off your lower back muscles. The tighter the hamstrings, the tighter the hips and pelvis, which translates to restricted lower back muscles. Flexibility helps by lengthening the muscles, giving more motion to the joints which helps in lifting and physical activity. Strong muscles also play a significant role in protecting against injury and the stronger the muscle, the quicker the recovery if you do get injured.

Use Proper Safety Equipment and Lifting Techniques

Before lifting, take a few minutes to evaluate what you are about to do and identify the safest way to execute the maneuver. If you are lifting a heavy object that is awkward in shape, consider asking for help or look at alternative options for moving the object. Perhaps there is a way to distribute the weight of the object, so it is easier to lift by adding support handles to either side, so you can carry the object without fear of your hands slipping off as you carry it. Adjust the height of the object being moved if necessary, so you can reduce the strain bending over can cause. When lifting, don’t bend at the waist and only use your upper body strength. Instead, bend your knees and use the strength in your legs to help power the maneuver. Keep in mind you don’t want to twist as you lift, twisting can cause injuries and put your safety at risk while you are holding something heavy.

Preventing back injuries isn’t always possible but if you consider including the strengthening of muscles, using proper safety equipment and asking for help when lifting or moving things that are heavy, your chances are significantly reduced. Not only will you avoid potential injuries, you will also improve your performance whether it is successfully loading a house full of furniture into the moving van or planting flowers in your yard.