A reader wrote in asking, “I’m prone to having back issues, but I enjoy taking care of my lawn, raking leaves and shoveling snow. What can I do to prevent problems with my back while enjoying these activities?”
It’s great to hear you like spending time outdoors – back problems can certainly take the enjoyment out of those activities. Back injuries are extremely common, but most are minor and short-lived. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of injury and discomfort from back issues.
Family physicians always teach prevention - the most important measure you can take is to make sure your back is in good physical condition before you go outside and put it to the test. In order for humans to walk upright, our backs have to carry a lot of the load when we are active. Being overweight puts a lot of extra stress on the back, so if you are overweight, you should work on shedding some of your extra pounds.