Top 10 tips for a healthy back, including lifting advice, how to sit properly and back-strengthening exercises.
1. Exercise your back regularly. Walking, swimming (especially backstroke) and using exercise bikes are all excellent ways to strengthen your back muscles.
2. Always bend your knees and your hips, not your back.
3. Never twist and bend at the same time.
4. Always lift and carry objects close to your body.
5. Try to carry loads in a rucksack and avoid sling bags.
6. Maintain a good posture. Avoid slumping in your chair, hunching over a desk or walking with your shoulders hunched.
7. Use a chair with a backrest. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. Change how you sit every few minutes.
8. Quit smoking. It is thought that smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae and this may lead to degeneration of these discs.
9. Lose any excess weight. Use our Healthy weight calculator to find out if you're a healthy weight for your height.
10. Choose a mattress suited to your height, weight, age and sleeping position.