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  • Writer's pictureDr. Doug Pooley

How to protect your back health?

Have you noticed that everyone and their brother have a cure for your back pain?

What if I was to tell you that after my 32 years in practice treating thousands of patients, there is no definitive remedy for common back pain. In short, everything works some of the time with some of the people and there is nothing out there that does the job every time. Sucks doesn’t it! Now, having said that, I can provide you with a guideline that will seriously help to “hedge your bets”, in protecting the health of your back. Fact is that most simple back strain is self limiting, in that it usually goes away by itself. In the same way that our bodies inherently heal up other wounds and minor disease, it heals injured tissues associated with back pain with one important distinction. The body is very effective at healing the soft-tissue component of a back injury, but often fails to repair the changes in function often associated with this type of injury. The result being that often a simple bout of back pain which appears to heal up fairly quickly and efficiently, suddenly recurs for no apparent reason, often with significantly more ferocity the second time around. The reason for this is simply the fact that the injury was corrected, but the cause or change in function was not, therefore predisposing the area to further or continuing weakening insult.

So, what are the best ways to protect your back, especially in cases of chronic weakness or repeated injury? Here are my five top ways to maintain and strengthen your back especially if back pain is a personal concern:

If you have a problem that does not resolve in 2 weeks, it is in all likelihood not just soft tissue, but rather mechanical, so get it fixed. If you experience recurrent bouts of low back pain, again seek out the advice of a back care professional to determine the cause.

You can only fix something when you know what you are fixing.

  1. Watch your weight. If you are experiencing persistent back pain and are more than 20 pounds above your ideal, it is a real contributor to your problem.

  2. Move!!! We live in a sedentary society where the word walk has truly become a four letter word. The human body was designed to move. If you suffer back pain, you need to first determine the cause and then start the right exercise program for you. This is critical.

  3. Stretch and strengthen. There is no pill in the world that will condition and strengthen your back. Once your back is injured, it is weakened, this is a simple truth. Stretches by themselves will help to balance muscles and take pressure off irritated joint structures, but do nothing to strengthen. You must do this to re-establish structural integrity of a damaged area and this must be specific to your needs.

  4. Take responsibility. Only you can really fix you. Seek out the professional advice and care that you need to find the cause, understand the healing process, access the tools necessary to complete the job and then just do it.  

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