If you were ever told to “stand up straight” by a parent or adult, they were giving you good advice, even if you didn't appreciate it. Bad posture can be the source for back pain. The good news is bad posture can be corrected!

Backs can hurt for many reasons. Bad posture (as featured in the image above) and injury are the obvious reasons, but spinal deformities, herniated or bulging disks, or arthritis can be the source of pain.

Finding the source can be tricky at times and will most likely require the help of a physician. The good news is that most back pain can be effectively treated. Some basic rules for staying back pain free include:

  1. Posture, posture, posture. Sit and stand up straight. Pretend you are carrying a book on your head as you walk.
  2. Avoid heavy lifting. If you do lift something heavy, bend your legs and keep your back straight. Do not bend, twist, turn and lift ‹ this is a sure recipe for back injury.
  3. Lose weight if you're overweight. It will help lower the strain on your back.
  4. Do back strengthening and stretching exercises (yoga, pilates, or lifting light weights) at least 2-3 times a week.
  5. Eat foods high in vitamin D and calcium for strong bones.
  6. Be kind to your lower back by resting between activities.

Remember, physical activity keep the muscles of the spine strong. The most important muscles to strengthen to avoid back pain are the abdominals. Include stretching in your fitness program to avoid stiffness, which can causes pain too.

If your back pain persists for weeks at a time, despite home treatments and exercise, it's best to discuss this with a doctor. To make an appointment with our back experts at West Valley Medical Center, call (208) 455-3981.

Upcoming Seminar: Get Back in the Saddle - Get Back to Life

Join Dr. Richard Manos, board-certified spine surgeon, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28, for an interactive discussion about chronic back pain - including the latest on prevention, diagnosis, pain medications, and why surgery should be a last resort. Arm yourself with knowledge, bring your questions!

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