3 Simple Tips to Help Prevent Back Pain

tips for preventing back pain
By Greg Gargiulo

Many American adults have experienced an episode of back pain. In fact, approximately 80 percent of the U.S. adult population will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Health

In the majority of cases, this type of pain is centered in the lower back and is considered nonspecific, meaning no primary cause has been identified that’s led to its development. Studies suggest that low back pain is most prevalent in those between the ages of 30-60, partially due to aging but also from leading a sedentary lifestyle with too much time sitting and not enough time exercising. Most people’s low back pain will go away without needing any major treatments, but about 10% will eventually develop chronic low back pain, meaning it lasts for more than three months.

Make Positive Lifestyle Changes and Avoid Aggravating Behaviors

There are certain habits and behaviors in our everyday lives that can aggravate our backs and increase the chances of pain developing, while others can help protect it and prevent pain. Being conscious of these decisions and making smart adjustments is one of the best ways to treat your back right:

  • Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly every week: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise is typically recommended
  • If you’re a smoker, try to quit smoking
  • Sleep on your side
  • Wear flat soles with cushioned soles and avoid high heels
  • Avoid lots of twisting, turning and bending your back, and carrying heavy bags
  • If you’re stressed out, try to find ways to reduce your stress levels

Consciously Work on Maintaining Proper Posture at All Times

Bad posture is one of the leading contributors to back pain, especially for those of us that spend most of the day sitting at a desk on the computer. Try to avoid slouching and use proper posture:


  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed, pull in your abs and keep your feet hip-distance apart
  • Balance your weight evenly on both feet
  • Let your hands hang naturally at your side


  • Adjust your chair so your feet are flat and knees are bent at 90° and level or slightly below your hips
  • Push your hips back as far as they can go in the chair, and keep your upper back and neck comfortably straight
  • Keep shoulders relaxed, not elevated or pulled back, and make you’re your monitor is centered and at or slightly below eye level
  • Stand up and stretch backwards every so often and take short walking breaks every 20 minutes

Strengthen Your Core with Leg Raises

Strengthening your core muscles will facilitate your movements and provide better support and protection for your back, which will also help prevent back pain. Try to perform leg raises several times a day, daily or most days of the week:

  • Lie on your stomach
  • Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it about two inches from the ground
  • Do the same with the other leg
  • Repeat 20 times with each leg

Though low back pain can result from a traumatic incident like a fall or an accident, it usually comes about from performing many everyday activities incorrectly for too long, such as twisting or bending excessively, carrying heavy objects or slouching at a desk. For this reason, although there are some contributing factors like genetics that are out of our control, back pain can be preventable by making some basic changes in your daily routine.