Top Five Back Pain Prevention Tips

back pain prevention tips

Art, Bud and I have all struggled with back pain at various times in our lives.  I have arthritis in my sacroiliac joints.  Art has a pinched nerve that plagues him on and off.  Bud has suffered the aches and pains that come with being an active teenager and young adult.

Through advice from our doctors, tips from friends, family, and the internet, and lots of trial and error, we have picked our favorite back pain prevention tips.  Here they are:

Top Five Back Prevention Tips

    • Maintain (or gain) core strength.

      Core muscles include your hips, abdominals and back.  A few really good exercises to keep your core strong are crunches, planks and pushups.  Even if you’re not big on exercising, one important thing you can do to help maintain core strength is to keep your abdominal muscles pulled in as much as possible.

back pain prevention

Attribution Some rights reserved by jen_hobbs on Flickr Creative Commons

 If he can do it, you can do it!!!

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

    The more weight you carry, the more pressure you are putting on your spine.  If you are overweight, losing even just a few pounds could make a significant difference in your back pain.

  • Get regular aerobic exercise.

    Low impact aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, elliptical and stepping can help condition your back, as well as releasing endorphins that aid in both pain relief and elevating your mood.

  • Learn (and use) proper posture and bending techniques.back pain prevention

    When standing – Your feet should be roughly shoulder width apart. Your knees and hips should be in line with the middle of your feet. Your torso should be balanced over your hips neither leaning forward nor backwards. Your shoulders should be back and your chest held out. Your head should be upright with your chin slightly elevated.
    When sitting – Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees at a right angle.  Your shoulders (if possible) and butt should stay against the back of the seat.  Your back and neck should be in line with your pelvis.
    When bending –  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, but keep your back straight. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in and if you are lifting, lift with your legs.

  • Stretch regularly

    Try some of the exercises at

Of course if you experience any sharp or long-term back pain, please consult your doctor.

What are your tips for preventing back pain?  Please leave your comments below.

Top Five Ways To Boost Your Motivation

boost your motivation

Since I started writing full time, I have noticed there are some days where my motivation is sorely lacking. Some days I would rather clean the bathroom or make that phone call I’ve been putting off, instead of typing words on a page. (On the plus side, my bathroom is really, really clean, and I am very patient when put on hold.)

Whether you’re trying to write a 500 word blog post/essay, or lose weight, or tackle a big project, we all lose our motivation from time to time. Here are some tips I’ve gathered over the years on how to boost your motivation.

Boost Your Motivation

1. Set Goals

First, decide what your goal is. Be as specific as possible. Goals with the best chance of success are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Sensitive).  For example, I want to grow my mailing list.  That statement, in itself, is not a goal.

To make it a goal, I need to be more specific.  For example, I want to add 100 subscribers by June 30th. This goal is specific, it’s measurable, it is attainable (I already have 500 subscribers, and I have a growth plan in place, so I think I can add 100 in six weeks), it’s realistic and it’s time sensitive.

It is also a good idea to post your goals where you can see them regularly. My goal is taped above my desk. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by summer, you could post a note to the refrigerator, cupboard and treadmill. Make it visible and attractive.

2. Maximize Your Most Productive Time of Day

Figure out during what time of day you have the most energy.  If you’re not sure, track your activity for a week. You should see a trend. For me, I am most productive in the early afternoon, and again in the early evening.

Once you’ve determined your most productive time(s) of day, use it to your advantage. Work on your most difficult goals or tasks during your most productive hours.  Save your least productive times of day for the more mundane tasks (like cleaning the bathroom).

3. Turn off distractions

Only you know what qualifies as a distraction for you. For me, major distractions are my cell phone, my email, and my family. TV, especially anything not that interesting, and music are NOT distractions for me. They are what keep me from throwing my laptop across the room. Seriously, if I had to stare at a blank page in dead silence for hours, something would definitely end up broken.

4. Have an accountability partner/buddy

In weight loss, I have a support group on Sparkpeople, who have been with me through weight loss and gain, difficult times and easier ones. I credit my over 30 pounds of weight lost, in large part to their cheers and virtual hugs.

For blogging/writing, my friend Nicole, who blogs over at Miss Nick Explores, is my accountability buddy. We check in with each other once a week or so, to see where we are each at, what plans we have, etc. Knowing I need to report to someone else definitely helps keep me on my toes.

5. Bribe yourself

I mainly use this tip when there is something I really dread, like a doctor’s appointment, or a job interview. I tell myself that if I get through this thing I am dreading, then I can get a latte at Starbucks, or go to the bookstore, or call a friend. This little bribe is usually enough incentive to motivate me to do that thing that needs to be done, but for some reason scares the crap out of me.

Utilizing these five tips should help you boost your motivation and help you achieve your goals. Do you have a tip to add? I would love to hear from you!!