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Whether you sit behind a desk all day, sleep on a crummy mattress or you just tried that crazy new HIIT workout at the gym, low back pain is something almost everyone deals with at some point. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Try these seven ways to keep low back pain away.

1. Schedule time to stretch

This is a great tip for the desk jockeys out there. When you find yourself in one position for an extended period of time – parked on the couch, sitting at your desk, stuck in your seat on the plane – make an effort to get up and stretch every 30 to 60 minutes. You don’t have to do anything overly strenuous – the idea is simply changing position and stretching out those muscles.

Tip: Try setting the timer on your phone so you don’t forget. Time flies when you’re having fun (or working).

2. Sit up straight

It seems obvious, but we have a bad habit of slouching – especially when we sit. Combat low back pain by putting your computer right in front of you when you type. A supportive and comfy desk chair is also a wise investment.

Tip: When seated, try to sit as upright as you comfortably can. Your chin should be tucked, so that your head stays over your shoulders. It can take some practice, but it’s worth it!

3. Be smart with your footwear

Those gorgeous heels are murder on your back! The rule of thumb is the skimpier the shoe, the worse the support, so be mindful of when and where to slip into those stilettos. Ideally, stick to supportive shoes that can be worn comfortably for at least a few hours.

4. Strengthen your core

A strong core looks great, sure, but it also does wonders for your back. Include core-stabilizing exercises into your fitness program – things like sit-ups and planks. Be sure to use proper technique and form when you work out, too.

Tip: For a few hours every day, try swapping your desk chair for a Pilates ball. It’s a great way to build stability and work that core.

5. No smoking

Here’s another reason to put down that cancer stick. If you’re already dealing with low back pain, smoking complicates and delays the healing process. Blame it on carbon monoxide in the smoke – it competes with oxygen at the cellular level.

6. Stay active

Hate the gym? No problem. Any kind of physical activity – even a walk around the block – will help. It’s important to balance all the sitting we do with just as much time moving, so get up and get out there. Regular exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy weight, another key to avoiding chronic low back pain.

7. Ice, ice and more ice

Even with perfect habits, low back pain will probably happen to the best of us. And when it does, ice is your best friend. Back away from that heat pack – it will promote swelling, and that’s the last thing you want with low back pain. Instead, try applying ice on and off for 15 to 20-minute periods over an hour a few times a day.

If your low back pain just isn’t getting better, we’d love to help. Let us show you how a few sessions of chiropractic care can help you get on with your life. Never been to the chiropractor before? No problem! Learn more about what you can expect here, and then schedule your appointment. You’ll be glad you did.