One of the best ways to prevent back pain is to keep your back muscles strong. Follow these steps to help protect your back and prevent back pain:
- Do back-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 or 3 times a week.
- Stand and sit up straight.
- Avoid heavy lifting. If you do lift something heavy, bend your knees and keep your back straight. This way, your leg muscles will do most of the work.
- Stay active and eat a balanced diet.
- If you are overweight, lose weight to help lower the strain on your back.
Learn more about back pain and how to prevent it.
There are different kinds of back pain.
Back pain can feel like a dull, constant ache or a sudden, sharp pain. Back pain often gets better on its own. Find out when to call a doctor or nurse.
What is the difference between acute and chronic back pain?
Acute back pain is pain that lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It’s often caused by an accident, a fall, or lifting something too heavy. Acute back pain usually gets better without any treatment.
Back pain that lasts for more than 3 months is called chronic back pain. It is much less common than acute back pain. Most chronic back pain can be treated without surgery.
Find out about ways to treat back pain.
Who gets back pain?
Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. It’s one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor or nurse. People are more likely to experience back pain as they get older.
Many people hurt their backs at work when they lift, push, or pull something that's too heavy. People may also be at risk for back pain if they:
- Have poor posture (don’t stand and sit up straight)
- Aren’t physically active
- Are overweight
- Fall or have an accident
- Have a health problem that causes back pain (like arthritis or cancer)