American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Listen to Your Body to Help Prevent Back Pain

Chronic back pain can have many different triggers and be experienced to a varying degree of intensity.

"Some patients experience an occasional dull pain, while others suffer constant agonizing pain that makes even the simplest movements difficult," says Natalie Nevins, DO, an osteopathic physician from Hollywood, California. "Either way, back pain can prohibit people from completing normal daily activities."

Lower Your Risk of Back Pain

Once you identify the cause of your back pain, lifestyle or environmental changes can be made to prevent or eliminate back pain. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, look beyond your symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors affect your wellbeing.

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Dr. Nevins suggests the following tips for preventing or minimizing your risk of back pain:

  • Listen to your body! Don't push through pain during any exercises or activities.

  • Set up your work and home office ergonomically by keeping feet flat on the floor with the knees at a 90 degree angle, the middle of the computer monitor at eye level, and the keyboard just above your lap with the arms at 90 degrees or a little lower.

  • If you have to perform heavy manual labor, take frequent breaks and stretch throughout the day.

  • Perform simple stretching and balance exercises to build strong core muscles.

  • If you are re-starting an exercise routine, start low and slow. See how your body adapts before increasing time or intensity.

Try Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) for Relief

If taking preventive measures do not prevent back pain or an existing condition worsens, a visit to the physician’s office is necessary. After an exam, your physician can determine what forms of treatment or testing may be needed. DOs offer another form of treatment called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)

"OMT is a hands-on treatment where DOs use their hands to examine the back and other parts of the body such as joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, for pain and restriction during motion that could signal an injury or impaired function," explains Dr. Nevins.

 

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