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General Fitness>>Maintaining a Healthy Back - 1/6/2007

Most low back pain is caused by prolonged overstretching of ligaments and other surrounding soft tissues. Pain produced by overstretching in this manner is very common and arises particularly when we develop poor postural habits.

When soft tissues surrounding a joint are overstretched it is usually the ligaments that first give rise to pain.

When the ligament surrounding the disc is injured, the disc can lose its ability to absorb shock and its outer wall can become weakened which can lead to a bulging disc or a more severe herniation. This can put pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain down the leg.

Maintaining a good posture can aid in preventing back pain. Don't slouch. Maintain the natural curve in your low back whether you are standing or sitting.

Lift with your legs and not with your back. Don't bend over the object, bend your legs and keep your back straight and rigid.

Prolonged sitting in one position can cause excessive strain on the low back. The use of a lumbar support or towel roll placed in the small of your back can help maintain your natural curve.

Taking periodic breaks from prolonged sitting can relieve stress off the spine.

The muscles of your back provide structure as well as mobility-they help hold your spinal column together.

After vigorous activity you should restore and accentuate the lordosis by standing upright and bending backwards five or six times.

When standing for prolonged periods you must stand correctly. Stand tall. Do not allow your back to sag into extreme lordosis. Frequently stand tall.

The purpose of exercise is to abolish pain and, where appropriate, to restore normal function - that is, to regain full mobility in the low back or as much movement as possible under the given circumstance.

Postural correction and maintenance of the correct posture should always follow your exercise program.

Centralization of pain (tingling/pain moving out of legs and moving back up to low back) that occurs as you exercise is a good sign. Conversely, activities or positions which cause the pain to move away from the low back and perhaps increase in the buttock or leg are the wrong activities or are incorrect positions/posture.

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