This is one question I get over and over again. It is a really important question because having recurring pain is a very real possibility. For example, at least 1/3 of individuals who have an episode of back pain are likely to have another episode of pain.
The best news is there are things you can do to help prevent your pain from returning!
#1 Strengthening your core and postural muscles. Having good posture and a strong core can help prevent injuries to your back, neck, shoulders, hips and even knees. If you are strong and stable at your center, you are not only helping prevent injuries in this area, such as back or neck sprains and disc injuries, but your arms and legs don't have to work as hard. This helps reduce all kinds of injuries from rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel or hip and knee pain and degeneration.
#2 Monitor your environment. Because of the way we live in modern society, we tend to do a lot of repetitive tasks. Over time, these things can take its toll. If your space is set up for success, it will help reduce pain and strain on your body which means less injuries for you!
Start small and make a change in the space where you spend the most time. For many of us, that is our workstation. Is your computer screen at the right height or are you leaning forward to see the screen? Is the keyboard close to you or are you having to reach for it? What about your chair? Is it the right height? Do you have good lumbar support?
You would be surprised how big of an impact these small changes can do.
#3 Make a plan with your physical therapist for the short and long term. They can help troubleshoot activities that can contribute to pain and give you a home exercise program to reduce risk for re-injury.
You can think of these exercises and activities as medicine for your body. Just like some individuals take medicine to keep your blood pressure under control and prevent a heart attack, your body needs exercises to help prevent injury.
Hope this information helps you to stay active and healthy for years to come!