How can back sprains and strains be prevented?

It is not possible to prevent all back injuries, but you can take some steps to help lower the risk of a sprain or strain:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your bones and muscles strong.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts added stress on the structures of the lower back.
  • Exercise regularly, including stretching, to keep your joints flexible and your muscles in good condition.
  • Practice safety measures to help prevent falls, such as wearing shoes that fit properly, and keeping stairs and walkways free of clutter.
  • Use good body mechanics when sitting, standing and lifting. For example, try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. When sitting, keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Don’t over-reach, and avoid twisting movements. When lifting, bend your knees and use your strong leg muscles to help balance the load.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine interferes with blood flow to the muscles.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/09/2018.

References

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Sprains and Strains. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Back and Neck Pain. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Low Back Pain. Accessed 11/16/2018.

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