The best sitting position for your back is to align it against the chair back. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, and keep your knees even with your hips or slightly higher.


Most people who are under stress and don’t manage it effectively tend to sleep poorly, have a poor diet and get little exercise. Add stress-related muscle tightness to the mix and back problems can result.

Taking good care of yourself when you’re stressed by doing relaxation and breathing exercises and finding time to exercise every day -- even if it’s nothing more than a 10- or 15-minute walk -- can help prevent back problems.

Lifting techniques

Whether you lift every day or occasionally, knowing how to do it properly -- especially if you’re out of shape or overweight -- can reduce your chance of hurting your back.

To lift correctly: Always be sure to bend your knees, keep your back straight and tighten your abdominal muscles when lifting. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid twisting. Hold the weight close to your body. Don’t lift anything that’s too heavy without assistance.


Smokers are almost three times more likely to develop low back pain than nonsmokers.

According to the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, the nicotine in cigarette smoke thickens the walls of the blood vessels. This restricts blood flow through the large and small blood vessels of the lower back and increases the amount of time for healing and recovery if you have a back injury.

“Keeping your back healthy and strong by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight takes some time and effort,” says Dr. Finkel. “But for many people, the prospect of living free of back pain is well worth it.”