Top 10 tips for a healthy back, including lifting advice, how to sit properly and back-strengthening exercises.
1. Exercise your back regularly – walking, swimming (including front and back strokes) and using exercise bikes are all excellent ways to strengthen your back muscles.
2. Always bend your knees and hips, not your back.
3. Learn to lift heavy objects using the correct lifting technique.
4. Carry larger loads in a comfortable rucksack using both shoulder straps, and avoid sling bags.
5. Maintain a good posture – avoid slumping in your chair, hunching over a desk, or walking with your shoulders hunched.
6. Try to take a short break from sitting every 30 minutes.
7. Stop smoking – it's thought smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae, and this may lead to these discs degenerating.
8. Lose any excess weight. Use our healthy weight calculator to find out if you're a healthy weight for your height.
9. Check that your bed provides the correct support and comfort for your weight and build, not just firmness.
10. Learn relaxation techniques such as this breathing exercise to help manage stress. Stress is a major cause of back pain.