Do’s and Don’ts If You Have Back Pain

Do’s and Don’ts If You Have Back Pain

Written By, Anthony Lombardo, PT, DPT, USA-W, USA-PL, CPT, Pn.1

If you are experiencing back pain now, you are probably searching for answers. What is the best treatment for lower back pain? What to do or not to do?

Your back pain can be felt while doing a number of everyday activities. You should be extra careful to avoid irritating the source of the pain. Simple movements such as sitting, standing, lifting, lying, driving a car and even sneezing can impact your pain.

There are things you should do, as well as avoid doing during your journey to recovery and things you could do to keep your back pain at a minimum.


  1. Sit as little as possible and then only for short periods.
  2. Place a supportive towel roll at the belt line of the back.
  3. When getting up from sitting, move to the front of the seat and stand up by straightening your legs.
  4. Try to keep the normal curves in your back at all times.


  1. Avoid sitting on a low soft couch with a deep seat. You will loss the normal curve of your back.
  2. When getting up from sitting, avoid bending forward at the waist.
  3. Don’t place your legs straight out in front of you while sitting. (i.e., sitting in the bathtub)


  1. Keep your back straight when lifting.
  2. Stand close to the load, have a firm footing and wide stance.
  3. Kneel on one knee, keeping the back straight.
  4. Have a secure grip on the load and lift by straightening your knees.
  5. Do a steady lift. Shift your feet to turn and do not twist your back.


  1. Don’t jerk when you lift.
  2. Avoid bending over the object you are lifting.


  1. Sleep on a good firm surface.
  2. If you bed sags, use slats or plywood supports between the mattress and base to firm it.
  3. You can also place mattress on the floor, a simple but temporary solution.
  4. You may be more comfortable at night when you use a pillow for support.


  1. Do not sleep on your stomach unless advised to do so by your doctor or physical therapist.


  1. If you must stand for a long period of time, keep one leg up on a foot stool.
  2. Adapt work heights.


  1. Avoid half bent positions.

Coughing & Sneezing

  1. Bend backwards to increase the curve of your back while you cough or sneeze.

Driving a Car

  1. Drive the car as little as possible. It is better to be a passenger than to drive yourself.
  2. Move the seat forward to the steering wheel. Your seat must be close enough to the wheel to keep the natural curves of your back.
  3. If your hips are lower than your knees in this position, raise yourself by sitting on a pillow.
  4. Use supportive towel roll at the belt of the back.

Don’t hesitate to ask your physical therapist about any aches and pains you may be feeling while completing everyday tasks. Contact Professional Physical Therapy for an assessment and/or physical therapy evaluation, so you can get your life healthier and more comfortable today!

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