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How's That Low-Back Pain?

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If you have overdone the gardening or lifted the kayak too often this summer and have developed low-back pain, how should you treat it? Until about ten years ago, doctors often advised people to stay inactive and even rest in bed. Studies since then have discovered that all that rest is counter-productive, and staying as physically active as you can helps reduce pain and improve mobility. Physical movement may help speed recovery by increasing blood supply and nutrients to the soft tissue in the back. When you do have to sit, a low-back support pillow and a heating pad will help the healing and feel great. Gentle stretching will help keep the back muscles loose.  Reseachers have not been able to prove that staying active helps people with sciatica, though it's reasonable to think that they too are likely to benefit from keeping active. So, if you have overdone the summer fun and your back aches, take it easy but keep moving, and ask a trainer at the Y's Wellness Department for some stretches and exercises to keep your back strong.