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My aching back: Steps to relieve back pain

Millions of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. That stat's not surprising, considering almost everything we do requires us to use your backs.

According to Discovery Health, approximately 60-90 percent of all Americans will experience at least one back injury in their lives. Half of these people will experience multiple episodes of back problems. Back pain ranges from dull and achy to stiff and sharp and can be acute, chronic or recurrent acute.

To help minimize potential back pain issues, heed this advice:

Avoid exerting too much force on your back.
Lifting or moving heavy objects can cause injury. When lifting, kneel down on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor as near as possible to the item you are lifting. Lift with your legs and not your back.

Modify any repetitious activity.

Be careful when sitting and standing.

Sleep on your side.
Sleeping on your back puts 55 pounds of pressure on your back. Putting a couple of pillows under your knees cuts the pressure in half.

Use a stool to reach anything higher than shoulder level.

Stay active.
Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes stress on your back, and exercise can strengthen your back and stomach muscles.

Listen to your body.
If you must sit or stand for a prolonged period, change your position often.

If you smoke, stop.
Nicotine restricts the flow of blood to the discs that cushion your vertebrae, increasing the likelihood you will suffer back pain.

 If you suffer from back pain, seek the advice of your family doctor.