10 Ways to Beat Back Pain

Eighty percent of all men suffer from back pain. Feel better faster with our guide to preventing injury, standing taller, and looking leaner—instantly.

1. Aim for a Dozen Crunches Every Day
Seventy-five percent of all lower-back problems can be prevented by building your abs muscles. When your abs are weak, the muscles of your butt and the backs of your legs have to work harder to keep your spine stable.

2. Change Posture Frequently
This varies the location of the stress on your spine, instead of focusing all of it on the same area. Try putting your feet up or leaning your chair back, while maintaining the natural arch in your back.

3. Squeeze Your Butt Muscles When You Lift Weights over Your Head
You'll force your body into a position that automatically stabilizes your spine, which lowers your risk of back injuries.

4. Leave Work at 5 p.m.
A University of Massachusetts study found that men who worked overtime had a 61 percent higher risk of an on-the-job injury than those who punched out after 8 straight hours, with back pain topping the list of complaints.

5. Trade Your Office Chair for a Swiss Ball
Use it instead of a desk chair for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Not only will the ball keep you in perpetual motion, but it'll also strengthen your core muscles, alleviating another side effect of too much sitting: back pain.

6. Drink a Glass of Milk
Not only does research show that low levels of D can increase your risk of osteoporosis by as much as 300 percent, but a recent study found that 80 percent of back-pain sufferers were light on vitamin D.

7. Adjust Your Car Seat
If you recline the seat so far back that you have to crane your neck to see in front of you, you're putting a dangerous strain on the lower neck. You should be able to see a full view of the road with your head against the headrest.

8. Readjust Your Pillows
If you're a side sleeper, draw your legs up toward your chest and place a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to save 8 hours of back stress. And if you like sleeping on your gut, stuff a small pillow under your abdomen to keep your lower back from sagging.

9. Lose the Wallet
Sitting on a thick billfold can put pressure on your sciatic nerve, the major nerve running through the buttocks.

10. See Your Tailor
Your aching back may be due to one of your legs being shorter than the other. Even a short imbalance can cause the spine to curve to the short side when you walk or run. Ask your tailor for a quick measurement, and if necessary, see your doctor.


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