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Five quick ways to stop back pain

Roughly eight out of 10 people suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Women, in particular, are prone to posture and back problems — thanks to toting around outrageously heavy purses, going through pregnancy, or giving one-hip rides to kids. Whether you’re in the midst of fighting the ache or just want to prevent it, Samantha Heller of Healthmagazine has five expert-endorsed,
/ Source: TODAY

Roughly eight out of 10 people suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Women, in particular, are prone to posture and back problems — thanks to toting around outrageously heavy purses, going through pregnancy, or giving one-hip rides to kids. Whether you’re in the midst of fighting the ache or just want to prevent it, Samantha Heller of Healthmagazine has five expert-endorsed, quick-and-easy ways to wage your war.

Aim for good posture

Sitting at a desk chair for eight or more hours a day can do a number on your back. Make sure you sit with your back against your chair (get a lumbar pillow if your chair doesn’t allow this) and both feet flat on the floor. Another option: Try using a stability ball as your desk chair; good posture is a must just to stay on the thing. Start off slow (20 minutes at a time), and if it feels good, stick with it.

Eat your broccoli

You know that calcium is key for strong bones, but Japanese researchers have identified something else you need: vitamin K. It’s believed that the vitamin, found in broccoli,spinach and other dark leafy greens, helps calcium deposit in the bones, making them denser. The stronger your bones, the stronger your whole body — and the lower your chances of an injury that could cause back pain.

Lighten your load

If your purse tips the scales at more than 10 percent of your weight, it’s too heavy. And you need to carry it right. Your best bet is a model with a long strap that lets you position it across your chest like a messenger bag. Our picks: Pink Studio Lupe cross-body bag ($72; Piperlime.com) or Deux Lux Doublestitch bag ($68; Urbanoutfitters.com). Can’t part with your shorter-strapped number? Switch shoulders every 20 minutes.

Sleep right

A harder bed may not be better for your back. A recent study in Spine found that people who slept on softer beds reported less lower-back pain than those who snoozed on harder ones. Pillows?Yours shouldn’t raise your head out of alignment with your spine. How to tell: If you’re a back sleeper, your chin shouldn’t press into your chest. If you’re a side sleeper, it shouldn’t curve up toward your shoulder.

Tighten those abs

Having strong core muscles can help protect your back from injury. Do this core-strengthening pelvic tilt two to three times per week: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and lower back flattened. Pull in your belly button toward your spine, contracting your abs; your pelvis should lift slightly off the floor. Do two to three sets of 12 reps.

For more back pain fixes, visit www.Health.com.