Ask the Expert: Dealing with back pain? Keep moving

Ask the Expert: Dealing with back pain? Keep moving. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Back pain is something over 95% of people will deal with at some point in their life. It can affect anyone at any age and peaks at the age of 40.

“Most of the time it’s not a dangerous problem, but people worry a lot about their backs,” says Rachel Decker, a Nurse Practitioner at the TOSH Back and Neck Center.

When back pain happens to you, it’s good to know what to do. Many people respond to back pain by not moving; however, doing so typically makes things worse. This is the case for Ryan Kushman who has dealt with back pain for several years.

“Long periods of sitting, office chair, airplanes, sitting in the car – stuff like that kind of aggravates it even more,” says Kushman.

Most patients are able to find some relief with a three-part regimen. First, make time for cardiovascular exercise. This can be anything from running to swimming to cycling or even the elliptical machine. Next, strengthen the back and the stomach.

“We have no control over the spine and say the degenerative process that our spines go through with age, but we do have control over the muscles that surround and protect the sign,” says Decker.

Finally, remember to stretch. Many people are really stiff and can benefit a lot from just a few minutes of stretching each day.

If specific movements cause a significant amount of pain, experts at the TOSH Back and Neck center can help find an alternative.

“Activity modification is really important and we certainly focus on that,” says Decker.