A Pain in the Back

A Pain in the Back - as Common as a Cold

back-painAccording to the American College of Rheumatology, back pain strikes nearly as often as the common cold — in fact, nearly 80% of people develop back pain at some point in their life. It’s also a leading cause of disability and work challenges. 

Back pain can feel sharp, aching, dull, tingling, or burning. The pain comes from damaged muscles, ligaments, and nerves, or from the spine.

A car accident, a sports injury, and lifting a heavy object are obvious causes of back pain. But lifestyle factors can cause back pain, too. Being overweight—especially having excess abdominal fat—strains the lower back. Lack of exercise, poor posture, and sitting too much can also weaken and stress back muscles. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your back healthy and keep back pain away.

Preventing Pain

Acute back pain will usually go away on its own within one to six weeks. Although it might be difficult, it’s better to move about than stay in bed, as long as you take it easy. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and applying ice or hot packs can ease pain and stiffness. 

If you suffer from ongoing back pain or frequent bouts of acute back pain, and you don’t have an underlying medical condition that’s causing it, lifestyle habits may be the problem. Follow these steps for a healthier back:

  • Lift safely. Bend your legs and keep your back straight.
  • Do aerobic exercise, stretch, and strength-train regularly.
  • Improve your posture. Don’t slouch or sit in one position for 
    too long without a break.
  • Manage your weight through exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Find time to relax. Stress can aggravate back problems.

Still in pain?

Working with a physical therapist can help ease back pain as they guide you through various exercises to help strengthen the muscles that support your back. To learn more, visit www.lakelandhealth.org/backpain

How Much Do You Know About Taking Care of Your Back?

1. It’s easy to find the cause of lower back pain. 

a. True
b. False

2. Low back pain is a rare problem.

a. True 
b. False

3. Surgery is the main treatment for low back pain.

a. True
b. False

4. Which of these is the proper way to lift a heavy object? 

a. Squat and keep your back flat
b. Squat and keep your back rounded
c. Bend at the waist and flex your knees as you lift
d. Bend at the waist and keep your knees straight as you lift 

5. Which position helps your back when you sleep?

a. Lying on your stomach
b. Lying on your back with your knees straight out
c. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees
d. Sitting up in a chair

6. When sitting down, keep your knees slightly higher than your hips. 

a. True 
b. False

Answers: 1. B, 2. B, 3. B, 4. A, 5. C, 6. A



Continue Watching

We're Ready for You at Spectrum Health Lakeland

While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in new ways, we want you to know we are here for you.

Lakeland Sets Aside $50 Million to Address Racial Equity and Health Inequities

The Board of Directors of Spectrum Health Lakeland approved an expanded strategy to address racial and ethnic health equity in Southwest Michigan.

COVID-19: Lowell Hamel, MD "The Fight of His Life"

Lowell Hamel, MD, never imagined he would soon be battling for his own life in the fight against COVID-19.

We're Ready for You - Loren Hamel, MD

If you have a health need right now, then it deserves our attention right now. Whether you want to see us virtually or in person, don’t delay your care. We are ready for you.

We Stay Home For You

Thank you to all those serving on the front lines. You are the true heroes. Together, we are strong. Together, we will see this this through.

Lakeland has a Heart to Serve now with Spectrum Health

Improving health, inspiring hope, saving lives. Spectrum Health Lakeland is now part of Spectrum Health offering an expanded care team, additional specialties, and new technology for you and your family.

Spectrum Health Lakeland: Your 100 Top Hospital

IBM Watson Health™ published its 100 Top Hospitals® 2019 study naming Lakeland among the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. based on overall organizational performance.

We Are Lakeland

Video of our team members

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2020