Low Back Pain

What is Low Back Pain?

Low Back Pain (LBP) is a common musculoskeletal symptom that may be either acute or chronic. It may be caused by a variety of diseases and disorders that affect the lumbar spine. Low back pain is often accompanied by sciatica, which is pain that involves the sciatic nerve and is felt in the lower back, the buttocks and the backs of the thighs.

LBP can also be caused by arthritis or wear and tear changes to the spine, or injuries to the discs in between the long vertebrae of the spine.

How can I prevent low back pain from returning?

Once you have had low back pain, you are likely to have it again. To help keep your back healthy and avoid further pain:
  • Practice good posture when you sit, stand, and walk,
  • Get regular, low-impact exercise. Walk, swim, or ride a stationary bike. Stretch before you exercise,
  • Wear low-heeled shoes with good support,
  • Sleep on your side. A medium-firm mattress may be easiest on your back.
  • Don't try to lift things that are too heavy for you. When you must lift, bend your knees and keep your back straight, keep the object you are lifting close to your belly button, and avoid lifting and twisting at the same time,
  • Watch your weight. Being too heavy, especially around your waist, puts extra stress on your back,
If you sit or stand for long periods at work:
  • Pay attention to your posture. Sit or stand up straight, with your shoulders back,
  • Make sure your chair has good back support,
  • Take regular breaks to walk around.
If your work involves a lot of bending, reaching, or lifting:
  • Talk to your human resources department to see if there are other ways you can do your work,
  • Don't depend on a “back belt” to protect your back. Studies have not shown these belts to be effective in reducing back injuries. The most they can do is to help remind you to use good techniques for lifting.