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Over Weight

I hurt my low back while lifting a heavy piece of lumber. Now I have extreme pain on one side. The doctor gave me a pamphlet with information about keeping active and exercising. All I want to do is lay on the couch and never move again. How do I follow my doctor's advice to keep moving when it hurts so much?

Research has shown that extra force through the spine can cause problems. This force can come from lifting objects that are heavy or awkward. Body weight also adds a compressive force through each bone of the spine.

Forces on the spine are much greater for people with low back pain. This happens because extra muscles contract during lifting to help protect the back. Researchers have measured the activity of muscles during lifting for people with back pain, and it is clear that being overweight adds to the forces.

Weight loss for anyone who is overweight is highly recommended. Weight loss helps reduce the load on the spine, possibly preventing future problems. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about healthy ways to lose weight.