Advice for Lower Back Problems

Sitting advice:

  1. At home or work sit in a straight chair with a firm back.
  2. Sit so that your knees are higher than you hips. To do this you may need a small footstool.
  3. Avoid sitting in swivel chairs and chairs on rollers.
  4. Do not sit in overstuffed chairs of sofas.
  5. Never sit in the same position for prolonged periods, Get up and move around.

Driving Advice:

  1. Push the front seat of your car forward so your knees will be higher than your hips. This will reduce the strain on back and shoulder muscles.
  2. Always fasten safety belt and shoulder harness.

Standing and Walking Advice:

  1. Don’t stand in the same position for longer than just a few moments. Shift from one foot to the other.
  2. When standing doesn’t lean back and support you body with your hands. Keep hands in front of body and lean forward slightly.
  3. When turning to walk from a standing position, move the feet first and then the body, as in left and right face in the military.
  4. Open doors wide enough to walk through comfortably.
  5. Carefully judge the height of curbs before stepping up or down.
  6. Women should change to low heels frequently.

Bed Rest Advice:

  1. If your doctor prescribes absolute bed rest, sty in bed. Raising your body or twisting and turning can put a severe strain on your back.
  2. When lying flat on your back, it may help to put pillows under the knees. (unless your physician recommends otherwise.)
  3. When sleeping, lie on your side and draw one or both knees up toward your chin.
  4. When lying in bed, don’t extend your arms above your head. Relax them at your stomach.
  5. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
  1. Sleep on a flat, firm mattress.
  2. A bed board (1/2”-3/4” thick) placed between the mattress and box springs is an excellent support for the back.

Lifting Advice:

  1. When lifting, let the legs do the work, no the back. This applies even if you’re picking up a scrap of paper.
  2. Squat directly in front of the object you plan to lift, keeping it close to your body. Then slowly rise to a standing position.
  3. Never lift with your legs straight.
  4. Don’t lift from a bending forward position.
  5. Don’t lift heavy objects from car trunks.
  6. Don’t reach over furniture to open and close windows.
  7. When two or more persons plan to lift something, they should decide in advance what each is going to do; so one of them doesn’t get caught with a sudden, unexpected load.

Yard Work Advice:

  1. A little exercise every day is far better than a whole lot on the weekend.
  2. Before working in the yard or garden, remember to warm up.
  3. To warm up, swing the tool you plan to use (rake, hoe, ax, mattock, etc.) lazily back and forth around your head and shoulders in different positions, gradually working up to the full range of motion and effort needed to do the job. Remember that athletes always warm up before taking vigorous exercise.
  4. Wear protective clothing to keep your perspiring body from getting chilled, except on very warm days. Remember that a baseball pitcher always puts on a warm-up jacket as soon as he leaves the mound.
  5. The weekend golfer, fisherman, or tennis player should take along extra clothing to avoid getting chilled late in the day.
  6. Don’t go into an air condition building while you’re perspiring.

Miscellaneous Advice:

  1. Don’t make up beds or run the vacuum cleaner when your back is “acting up”.
  2. A prolonged hot bath can be relaxing for a strained back, Be sure the water isn’t too hot.
  3. Your doctor may recommend some simple exercises to help strengthen the low back and stomach muscles. Always follow his directions.