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Back Pain? Join the Club

About 80 percent of adults living in the U.S. experience back pain at some time. It can come from injuries, medical conditions or infections, but sometimes it just stems from bad habits.

Prevention tips

1. Exercise – Perhaps the best preventive solution to back pain is routine exercise, which can help stretch and strengthen core muscles; obliques (side abdominal muscles) especially help support the back.

2. Lift safely – Doing some heavy lifting? Bend your knees, keep your back straight and don’t pivot or lift higher than your armpits. Also, don’t lift objects heavier than 20 percent of your body weight.

3. Stand up – Sedentary jobs and long commutes put pressure on the spine and lead to back stress; get up, stretch and move around as much as possible (see 10 Creative Ways To Stop Sitting on the Job).

4. Watch your wallet – Sitting on your wallet in your back pocket can interfere with spine alignment and lead to muscle tension, so consider putting that wallet in a different pocket.

When to seek care

Don’t put off a visit to an urgent care center near you if you have:

  • Significant trauma or injury (or even mild trauma if you’re over 50)
  • Recent infection
  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • Pain that worsens with rest
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Inability to walk or move your joints
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
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