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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Pain Pain Arrow to Back Pain Back Pain

Acute back pain, especially lower back pain, is common to many people in all walks of life. It may be brought about by overexertion during physical activity or heavy lifting, improper posture while sitting at a desk job, or simple everyday stress and strain.

Fortunately, with proper care and exercise, most back pain can be prevented or eased.

Even in the most chronic cases, surgery is a rarely recommended cure (except in cases of a herniated disc in the spine, or the back pain associated with kidney disease), but is often best treated with prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, and alternative pain treatments such as acupuncture or stress management.

To relieve everyday backache pain, experts usually advise to keep lightly active - since sitting or laying down for long periods only worsens the condition and exacerbates pain.

Being chained to a desk all day doesn't help -- which is why aerobics experts have devised desk exercises to help keep office workers limber and feeling refreshed.

For more serious back pain such as sciatica, a heating pad or wearable "heat strip" eases tightened muscles, and non-prescription pain relievers helps reduce swelling.

Spine illustrationAvoid the risk of strains and back muscle spasms by also following these recommended tips:

  • When lifting and moving heavy objects from the floor, avoid putting undue stress on your back by bending your knees and lifting up. Keep your back straight, and don't twist as you lift.

  • Observer proper posture when sitting at a desk by keeping your back straight and feet firmly placed on the floor.

  • Keep active! Walking or light jogging help to keep back muscles strong. Swimming is another excellent low-impact exercise.

More information about back pain around the Web:

Around the Web, learn more about the topic at sites offering more information, tips & advice on proper posture, exercise techniques, traditional treatments and when to seek professional care, along with alternative and complementary therapies for common, everyday back pain ...

Handout on Health - Back Pain - Read this excellent introduction to the topic with a comprehensive overview on how the spinal cord works, related injuries, common medical diagnostic tests and treatment, therapeutic exercises, related glossary of terms, and related resources

Low back pain - Check out this page from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons with extensive tips, advice & information on how to prevent back pain at home or at work, causes & treatment of related conditions including fractured vertebrae, sciatica, scoliosis and more.

WebMD Back Pain Health Center - Browse for the latest news headlines and feature stories, daily blogs and community forum posts, plus patient guides to types of back pain & related symptoms, diagnostic tests, treatments, glossary and FAQ.

Lower Back Pain - Self-diagnostic chart describing symptoms and suggested home care treatments and pain relievers, related diseases & conditions and when to see a doctor.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Back Pain - Good overview of alternative and complementary therapies including acupuncture, deep breathing & physical exercise, herbal treatments and stress management, with related articles on relieving back pain.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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