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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Back Pain

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/facilities/departments/ehs/backpain.html

Back Pain


Although back pain can be a debilitating condition, there are many things you can do both at the office and at home to prevent its onset.

At the Office

  1. If you spend most of your work day sitting down, shift your position frequently to eliminate strain.
  2. Improve your comfort and flexibility. Do gentle stretches at your desk every day.
  3. Use lifting techniques that support your back. Bend your knees, keeps the load close to your body and lift with your legs.
  4. For typing or computer work, use document holders or other devices to keep papers in an upright position.
  5. Stand tall. Put one foot on a small footstool if you're on your feet for long periods of time. Keep your knees flexed, not locked.
  6. Avoid crossing your legs when seated at your desk or workstation.
  7. Avoid twisting and lifting at the same time. Remember to keep your feet, knees and torso pointed the same direction.
  8. Know when your back is properly aligned (ears, shoulders and hips "stacked" in a straight line).
  9. Use a rolled up towel or pre-made lumbar support if your desk chair doesn't give your lower back the support it needs.
  10. Sit right. Keep your back straight. Place both feet flat on the floor or stool and keep legs at a 90 degree angle. Make sure the seat is flat or tilted slightly forward.

At Home

  1. If you have to lift an object that is above shoulder level, use a step stool or ladder to avoid over-reaching.
  2. Exercise aerobically for at least 30 minutes, three to four times per week.
  3. If you read in bed, prop up your back, shoulders, neck and head so you're sitting up straight and bend your knees.
  4. Split large loads into several smaller ones.
  5. Always bend your knees when lifting anything, whether it is a found penny, your young child or a 25 pound bag of pet food.
  6. Move your car seat as close to the steering wheel as is comfortable.
  7. Sleep on a firm mattress.
  8. Practice deep breathing. This is an excellent stress reduction technique. Too much stress often manifests itself as back pain.
  9. Pay attention to what you eat. Too much fat, sugar, salt, even protein can interfere with your good health. Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as rice, noodles, and potatoes.
  10. Place your television at or slightly above eye level.