During their lifetime, three out of four adults will experience back pain; and with an aging population and the prevalence of obesity, this number may rise even higher. Pain in the lower back, (lumbar area), from sprains and strains is the most common complaint. Often, the cause is due to lifting without using proper techniques or from a sudden twisting movement. Muscle strains and sprains will usually heal with time. Heat and massage, over-the-counter medications, and possibly physical therapy also help.

Some causes of pain are due to severe spinal disorders such as spondylolisthesis (slippage of vertebrae) or a herniated disc. These conditions will require varying degrees of medical treatment and possibly life changes.

Many lumbar strains and sprains can be avoided by changing some practices. Here are six bad habits which can cause a back injury:
1. Using poor body mechanics when lifting
2. Poor Posture
3. Lack of Exercise
4. Overweight
5. Ignoring an injury or persistent back pain
6. Smoking

Poor Body Mechanics
When Lifting:
Stretch and loosen your muscles before lifting anything.
Get close to what you will lift.
Bend your knees and grasp it firmly.
Lift straight up in one motion. DON”T TWIST!
Hold lifted object close to your body.
Move close to where you want to put the object you lifted.
When lowering the object, bend your knees.
Ask for help when needed.

Poor Posture
To Have Good Posture:
Stand with your feet slightly apart.
Keep the knees straight.
Tuck your chin slightly in.
Keep your shoulders back
Sit in a chair that supports your back.
Slouched shoulders, drooping head, locked knees place stress on the spine. Good posture is more comfortable and keeps the body in good alignment.

Lack of Exercise
Find a way to include exercise in your daily life. Keep your back muscles strong and keep your spine healthy.

A sedentary lifestyle has become all too common today. Research shows that people who do not exercise regularly and are overweight are more likely to suffer from back injuries and pain. Unwanted pounds, especially if the weight is in the abdomen, place stress on the spine. Follow a proper diet and maintain adequate nutrition.

Ignoring An Injury Or Persistent Back Pain
Most sprains and strains can be cleared up with time, medication, massage, and possibly physical therapy. If an injury goes untreated and there are no modifications in activity, it can progress to a more serious injury and, possibly, disability.

According to experts, smoking increases the risk for back injury. Nicotine, in any form, blocks the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the intravertebral discs, the cartilage pads that are cushions between each vertebra, allowing smooth movement of the spine. When they are starved for oxygen, the discs are less able to repair themselves and often collapse at a much earlier age than in non-smokers. This can develop into degenerative disc disease with chronic back pain.

A study by Duke University showed that in 1998, total health care expenditures incurred by people with back pain in the US reached $90.7 billion. Wouldn’t some of that money have been better spent on leisure activities or vacations, something more enjoyable than treating an episode of back pain? Many steps you can take to avoid back injury are simple and based on common sense.

Author's Bio: 

Raymond Shaw is a spinal decompression therapist, who has worked with individuals with back pain problems for seven years.
If you would like to receive a free weekly newsletter on spinal decompression therapy visit USSpineCare.com and also to get more in-depth information.