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Back injuries No. 2 reason for doctor visits

Back injuries are disabling impairments that affect countless people in California and the rest of the nation. In fact, back pain is the No. 2 most common reason for doctor visits in the United States. Not only can a back or joint impairment affect a person's day-to-day life, it can also prevent a person from working.

For people who do not yet suffer from back pain, here are some tips for staying healthy:

Good posture. People who sit hunched over in a chair all day are more likely to suffer from back injuries because poor posture wears on the spine. Standing and sitting up straight can help prevent back injuries from occurring.

Flat shoes. Women who wear high heels on a regular basis may be especially at risk of back injuries because they put unnatural pressure on your back. Wearing flat shoes and keeping your feet flat on the ground while sitting can help alleviate pressure on the back.

Proper lifting. Many people who suffer from back pain were injured while lifting heavy objects. It's best to avoid heavy lifting altogether, but if you absolutely must do it, it's important to lift with your legs instead of your back.

People who already suffer from disabling back pain may find that certain exercises and lifestyle changes can help alleviate some of the pain. However, in many cases, the pain is so severe that it prevents a person from working.

In these cases, it may be possible to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. First, you need a doctor's confirmation of the condition you suffer from. You also need to verify that the pain is so severe that it prevents you from doing your job or any other job.

Source: News Press, "How to protect yourself from back injury," Katherine Kinross, March 3, 2013

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