You might be able to prevent some back injuries by maintaining a healthy weight, lifting objects with your legs and using lower-back support when you sit.
You can also exercise to keep your back healthy and strong, performing exercises that increase core stability.
Better posture may prevent back pain and injury, too; think about your posture, whether you’re sitting or standing.
Different sleeping positions may be better for protecting your back.
Wear low-heeled shoes.
Eat a healthy diet, manage your stress load and quit smoking if you’re currently a smoker.
Children and teenagers who use school bags and backpacks should ensure that they’re carrying them correctly, in a way that doesn’t cause unnecessary imbalances or strain.
Some exercises may increase the likelihood of low back pain. AVOID:
- Straight-leg sit-ups
- Bent-leg sit-ups during acute back pain
- Leg lifts
- Lifting heavy weights above the waist (military press or biceps curls while standing)
- Stretching done while sitting with legs in a “V” position
- Standing toe touches
Why choose Ohio State for treatment of spine sprains, strains, fractures and injuries?
Diagnosing spine sprains, strains, fractures and injuries
Our spine specialists work closely with emergency department staff, who are often the first to evaluate people following an accident with an injury to the spine. If you are referred to Ohio State Spine Care, a physician will perform a thorough history as well as physical and neurological exams to check for neurological and muscular problems around the spine.
Our team of neurologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, and neurosurgeons consult with one another to make an accurate diagnosis for you.
Back injury treatment
One of Ohio State’s strengths is our physical therapy program, with therapists who specialize in spine injuries and conditions. Following a thorough examination of posture, mobility, strength and flexibility, our physical therapists customize a plan for you. We take into account any impairments or functional limitations you have. Typically, you will work one-on-one with a therapist on pain-relieving movement strategies and on improvements in strength and flexibility.
Additional nonsurgical treatments include:
- Education on back care and recommendations on how to make your work and home environment more ergonomic
- Real-time ultrasound imaging (RUSI) of movement in the spine area to re-train the deep stabilizing musculature of your spine (a highly researched, evidence-based intervention)
- Anti-inflammatory medications and rest
- Injections into the epidural space (fluid-filled sac around your spinal cord) for pain relief
- Weight loss counseling, emphasizing healthier eating and exercise to ease pressure on the spine
- Pilates, yoga and aquatic therapy to strengthen back muscles
- Spine orthobiologics, also known as stem cell therapy, activates the body’s natural healing process through injections of the body’s own healthy cells into the injured area to stimulate tissue regeneration and natural healing
- Acupuncture (provided at Ohio State Spine Care) or dry needling for pain control through Ohio State’s Center for Integrative Medicine
Fractures – compression fracture or fractured vertebrae
If a fracture is stable (unlikely to shift or worsen), we can immobilize it with a collar for the neck or a brace for the back. Follow-up imaging will document healing.
We often prescribe bone-strengthening medications to prevent additional fractures.
If a fracture is unstable and likely to cause further damage, our surgeon will—following stabilization of the spine above and below the injury—fuse the fractured spine bone to the bones above and below it.
If you have a compression fracture from osteoporosis, our physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians manage the fracture conservatively with rest and pain medication. For severe pain, we’re skilled in kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty, procedures for injecting cement into the cracked bone for greater stability and faster healing.
If pain persists following surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians can perform radiofrequency ablation (also called radiofrequency neurotomy), a procedure using intense heat produced by radio waves to disable nerves that are causing pain.
If you have a fracture of a facet joint that joins two vertebrae—often from sports activities—rest is the first line of treatment, but radiofrequency ablation can be performed if pain persists.