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Do you have an aching back? If the answer is “yes,” you’ve got plenty of company. Experts say that 80 percent of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. So, here are 4 ways to make sure you’re in the always healthy 20 percent:

  • First: Learn how to lift heavy objects. We all know you’re supposed to lift with your knees, not your back, and if you have to strain to move a heavy object, get help. But orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Cluett says that most people don’t follow that advice.
  • Another back-healthy tip: Don’t sit for long periods of time. Spine specialist Dr. Nick Shamie says that sitting all day puts pressure on your lower vertebrae. So, he suggests getting up and moving around for 10 minutes every hour. One easy way to do that is to take all your phone calls standing up.
  • And finally: Lighten your load. Messenger bags and big purses may be fashionable, but the more space you have, the more stuff you’ll jam in it. And hanging a heavy bag on your body tends to twist your spine to one side. The rule is, bags and backpacks should never exceed 10 percent of your body weight.

What that means is if you weigh 150 pounds, you bag should weigh less than 15. If you have to lug around more than that, get a wheeled case or use a bag with a handle, and periodically switch the bag from one hand to the other. You'll be less fatigued and your back will thank you by not putting you in pain.

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