Back pain can be one of the most debilitating forms of pain. It can affect our daily routines and prevent us from enjoying life. Back pain can become so disabling that it can negatively affect your finances and leave you isolated and depressed. Unfortunately, over 85% of us will suffer from significant back pain at one point in our lives. Back issues can also cause other problems that can affect you later in life.

So what can you do to prevent back pain? Well, it turns out that you can do plenty. You have the power to take control and prevent debilitating back pain once and for all. Check out the following 5 tips to prevent back pain for good:

1. Change your posture.

The way you stand can mean the difference between being pain-free and suffering from back pain. It is all too easy to stand with your shoulders dropped and your knees locked. It is also too easy to stand with a swayed lower back and pooched stomach. Changing your posture involves an engagement of your stomach and buttock muscles as well as an awareness of your head and neck angle. Rounded shoulders can be pulled back and knees unlocked in order to put your body in the correct alignment. And be mindful of your posture when you are sitting as well as standing.

2. Stretch daily.

Simply put, stretching is one of the best ways to relieve and prevent back pain. It works on many back problems at the same time. Stretching your back improves flexibility in the muscles and ligaments, possibly preventing injury. Stiffness is a problem that is common especially for older people, and stretching every other day can greatly improve flexibility. Yoga is a great way to stretch and increase the flexibility of your spine. Consider joining a yoga class at least once a week, and you will see a marked reduction in back pain. Be sure to work with a yoga instructor before attempting yoga poses on your own, especially if you are already experiencing back pain.

3. Exercise regularly.

There’s no way to get around the fact that exercise is an important and effective solution to back pain. Aerobic exercise as well as strength training can do your back a world of good. Walking, light jogging, and bicycling are wonderful ways to get moving and get your heart pumping. Strength training programs designed to make your back, calves, and thighs stronger will help to support your back. Avoid sports such as football and bowling that involve bodily contact or twisting while you have back pain, as these can trigger and exacerbate back pain and injury. A strong core can mean the difference between being pain-free and having a back that hurts, so try to get your abdominal muscles toned to support your back. You can feel more confident to get back to your sports once your back pain has calmed down.

 4. Embrace proper ergonomics.

So many people sit at a desk for eight hours a day, five days a week, hunched over a computer. Our bodies are simply not made for such an activity. Back pain began to become more common during the 1950s and 60s as more people began working at sedentary jobs. Ergonomics involves the study of people working and how it affects their bodies. There is equipment for offices that can fit the body and conform to it, preventing back pain. Your desk chair should conform to the shape of your spine, providing good support and transferring much of your weight toward the back. You can also change the height of your chair to an accessible level so that your lower legs form a 90-degree angle to your thighs.

5. Lose weight.

It has been proven that extra weight can be a major cause of back pain. And it is not just obesity that can cause back issues; even fifteen or twenty extra pounds can mean the difference between a pain-free back and issues with pain. If you carry a lot of your extra weight in your abdomen, your risk for back pain is even greater. When you let your stomach hang out, your lower back sways in improper alignment. The weight-bearing joints in your lower back are already subject to strain, and when you add extra weight, it can send your back over the edge.

 These five simple tips can change your life dramatically. Start today and work towards a back pain free life. A lot of relieving back pain is in the lifestyle changes that we all know we need to make but just never commit to. Commit today!