3 ways to banish back pain
Use these tips to avoid injuring your back.
Sit up straight
Poor posture, especially at your desk, can exacerbate back problems. Keep feet flat on the floor and maintain contact between the chair and your back. Your monitor needs to be at eye level so that you can sit in a natural and not hunched-over position. And stand up and stretch every half-hour to keep muscles from tightening up.
Muscular imbalances throughout the body can cause unnecessary stress on the lower back, especially if your workouts consistently favour the bench press over bent-over rows, and crunches over back extensions. This can lead to 'rounding' at the shoulders, which pulls your whole torso forward, putting pressure on the lower spine. Prevent this by splitting sessions into balanced workouts, so work on your chest and back one day, arms another and then legs on the third.
Although conventional wisdom would have you believe that the firmer a mattress is the better it is for your back, a study of 200 Spanish patients suggests otherwise. It found that mattresses rated 'medium-firm' were far better at relieving back pain than stiffer ones.
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