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Tips keep back pain from being chronic

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As your back gets older, occasional aches can turn into chronic, perhaps disabling, pain. In the March issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, Zachariah Isaac, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, offers suggestions aimed at making sure that doesn’t happen. His list:

  • Don’t baby your aching back. Cutting back on activity because of temporary pain can lead to muscle weakness.
  • Keep up a regular program of “core” exercises because those muscles are the ones that support your lower spine.
  • Stay limber, because tight muscles can increase pain.
  • Watch posture. Focus on standing upright, and don’t slouch when you sit.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Stay positive and relax. Isaac notes that the spine’s close relationship to the brain means that a good emotional state can have physical benefits.

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