5 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

The vast majority of us will suffer from lower back pain at some point in our lives. But if you follow these five tips, you'll stand a better chance of preventing it.
5 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Last update: 25 June, 2020

Lower back pain is very common because it’s a part of the body that we often mistreat throughout the day without realizing it. However, with a little care and attention, we can prevent lower back pain. In this article, we’ll look at chronic lower back pain, the sort of pain that comes and goes or is continuous.

However, if your pain is more acute or seriously prevents you from doing certain activities, you should go and see a specialist. They’ll be able to provide you with the correct treatment.

Watch your posture

This is the first and most essential point. These days, we spend a lot of time sitting down or maintaining the same posture without moving. If that posture is bad for us, then this can strain and cause damage to the structures in the lower back.

For example, when sitting down, you should try to keep your back straight, either by using an appropriate chair or by simply trying to sit upright. Your feet should be resting on the ground, and your neck should be in a neutral position.

Meanwhile, your shoulders should go back a little and down. One way to know whether you’re sitting properly is to check whether you’re resting on the bones at the level of your buttocks (correct position) or further back (incorrect). This is true whether you’re using the computer, driving, reading, or just sitting on the sofa.

Good posture is also very important when doing physical exercise, particularly keeping your back straight. Check with your personal trainer, the person who teaches your class, or with anyone who goes with you to the gym.

And lastly, your sleeping posture is also critical. The best position is to sleep on your side, particularly if you bend one leg and put a cushion beneath your knee. If you sleep on your back, try putting a cushion under both knees. If you sleep face down, place a cushion under your stomach.

A woman suffering from lower back pain at work.

Keep moving to prevent lower back pain

The worst possible thing for lower back pain is a sedentary lifestyle. As much as you might take care of your posture, the human body has adapted over thousands of years to an active life.

So, whether it’s signing up for a new sport, taking a walk every few hours, or simply performing neck or arm movements every hour (or ideally all three), you need to keep your body moving.

If you don’t move, your muscles will lose tone and will stop taking pressure off other structures in the body. You’ll also lose a certain level of mobility. Moving helps to ‘remind’ the body of the mechanics of moving and stops tendons and joints from deteriorating or stiffening.

Staying still without moving for a long time can also cause problems for your circulation. So however you do it, try to be as mobile as possible!

Be careful with body movements

The worst body movement you can do for lower back pain is bending and twisting at the same time. One example would be bending down to pick something up which isn’t directly in front of you. Both movements are problematic, but when performed together, it increases the stress on the lower back.

Of course, making this sort of movement once shouldn’t be a problem. If your muscles are strong enough, this should provide some protection for your back. But if you have a job where you need to make this sort of movement regularly every day, this can lead to problems.

Imagine, for example, working as a cashier. Instead of turning the whole body to pick up items, you’ll probably twist your torso instead and then bend your back to put them in bags. Then, you might have to twist and bend to put money in the till or bend down to pick up plastic bags for the customer. As you can see, there’s plenty of opportunities to do serious damage to your lower back.

Watch your weight to prevent lower back pain

Another cause of lower back pain is being overweight. Carrying too much body weight puts excess pressure on the spine and surrounding structures. If you’re concerned about your body weight, speak with your doctor about ways you can lose weight.

A man at the doctors to prevent lower back pain.

Visit your physiotherapist

A session with a physiotherapist at the right time can save you a lot of trouble in the future. They’ll be able to analyze your situation, give you advice, and treat your pain in the same session.

But in any case, they’ll also talk to you about how to prevent lower back pain or stop it becoming worse, so pay close attention!

If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still suffering from lower back pain, visit your doctor to see if there’s a more deep-seated problem. Lower back pain doesn’t always have to be serious. It’s very common, but it can also be a symptom of other ailments, so it’s worth getting it checked if you’re in any doubt.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • A. Covarrubias-Gómez. Lumbalgia: Un problema de salud pública. Rev Mex Anest; 33 (S1). 2010
  • J. Pérez. Contribución al estudio de la lumbalgia inespecífica. Rev Cubana Ortop Traumatol  [Internet]. 2006
  • A. Gómez, S. Valbuena. Lumbalgia crónica y discapacidad laboral. Fisioterapia. Volume 27, Issue 5, Pages 255-265. 2005

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.