Susan Lennon MSW, LCSW Content Strategist
Communications Consultant
Specializing in Thought Leadership and B2B/B2C Marketing Communications

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Back Off, Back Pain
USA Weekend Magazine, March 12, 2006
by Susan T. Lennon

(Longer, unedited version - for additional infornation)

Musculoskeletal problems rank number one for doctor visits, – a whopping 61,636,000 in 2003. One of the biggest culprits is low back pain. “Over 80% of Americans will be knocked off their feet by an episode,” says Nicholas A. DiNubile, M.D., author of Framework: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints (Rodale, 2005). It can happen to anyone, but you’re at higher risk if you:

  • Have a family history of back trouble
  • Spend long hours sitting, or do heavy manual labor
  • Smoke
  • Are out of shape or overweight
  • Suffer from depression, anxiety, stress
  • Have poor posture
  • Threw your back out before
  • Are pregnant

How can you prevent low back injury?

  • Know your risk
  • Take breaks, get up from your desk or out of your car or truck and limber up
  • Lift from a squatting position, using your thighs, not your back – even for small items
  • Build core abdominal strength
  • Concentrate on overall cardiac fitness through aerobic exercise
  • Practice yoga, Pilates, dance, martial arts
  • Sit and stand without slouching
  • Since most backs go out in the early morning; stretch gently on arising
  • Avoid “old fashioned” sit-ups – do controlled crunches instead

If back pain knocks you down, DiNubile offers this advice:

  • If it’s your first time, see a doctor to rule out a medical cause like tumor, aneurysm, gallbladder problem, kidney stone, or herniated disk
  • If it’s a relatively minor repeat episode, try chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture
  • Once you “know” your back: spend one day off your feet, but avoid sitting; apply heat if you’re achy, or ice if you’re injured; try mild stretching and movement, and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, if you’re allowed

Need to find a back specialist? Check out the North American Spine Society

Site for low back exercises

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