Three years ago, I returned from a relaxing vacation in Mexico, only to emerge from the plane with pain in my lower back. I am not sure how I hurt my back, but as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, the pain steadily grew worse. I eventually went to the doctor who gave me a steroid injection in my lower back, and prescribed a few days of rest lying flat on the floor with a pillow positioned under my knees. These doctors that you visit in case of back pain or joint pain are specialists. Moreover, Spine Surgeons are world-renowned doctors that specializes in muscle and joint pains.

After a few days, my back eventually stopped hurting and I was able to return to work. This one and only painful episode with back pain encouraged me to do everything I could to prevent something like this from happening again. Thus, I began an extensive Internet search to find ways on improving my back and neck muscles in order to prevent any possible future back pain.

WebMD, eMedicine Heath, and the Mayo Clinic all provided some preventive measures for back and neck pain, but none provided an inclusive list that a person could refer to at one viewing. I took all their suggestions and a few of my own techniques, and compiled a list that I could refer to daily.

Most experts will agree that stress plays an important part in the cause of back and neck pain. Stress can cause muscle tension resulting in pain. Finding ways to deal with stress will definitely help back pain. Relaxation tapes, yoga, exercise, and weight lifting are all excellent ways to relieve stress.

Besides stress, physical factors such as being over-weight can cause major back pain. Losing weight is a great way to help prevent back and neck pain. Most weight loss programs involve some form of aerobic exercise, so always stretch your muscles before and after exercising and if lifting weights, be sure to use proper form in performing the different moves.

Be sure to include shoulder and back exercises in your routine as well as crunches. Strong, tight abdominal muscles will help support the back.

Improper diet and bad habits can cause cell damage, so eating a healthy diet, limiting caffeine, and not smoking will promote healthy cell growth, and may contribute to stronger muscles.

Practice good posture, by sitting and standing erect. Do not slouch. If you spend most of your time at a desk, make sure you maintain proper body alignment with your chair and work area.

Use a headset on your phone to help prevent neck pain.

When stooping over to pick up an object, be sure to bend your knees. Also, stoop down, bend your knees and use leg strength to help lift heavy objects. If your job requires you to do a lot of lifting, ask for a support belt and wear it. Study the user’s guide to ensure it is properly adjusted to your body.

At night make sure you mattress is comfortable for your use. I cannot say a soft mattress is better than a hard one, or vice versa, as each person’s likes and dislikes differs. The key is to make sure your spine is aligned with your neck and head.

A person cannot always prevent back injuries, but they can do things to help their body absorb the injury and heal more quickly through preventive steps.