, Ouch! Back pain hurts, and although you may think there isn’t much you can do about it other than pop pills or lay in bed, there actually are a number of things you can try! Start with the following list.

1. Strengthen your back with exercise. Medical science has devised numerous exercises designed to make the muscles in your back stronger, helping to prevent pain and injury. Ask your physician if they are safe for you, which ones would be most appropriate and do them daily.

2. Improve posture. Especially if you stare at a computer screen all day or really become engrossed in shows and games, you probably slouch without even realizing it. Posture is too important not to be aware of, so make the effort to sit up straight at all times.

3. Lose excess weight. Belly weight drags on your back, causing pain and spinal deformities over time. Avoid this by losing weight and keeping it down thereafter. Your back wasn’t designed to carry a heavy load all the time, so join a gym and take active steps to control caloric intake.

4. Be sure to lift things properly. When we lift without bending, the back is strained. This leads to numerous injuries, sick days and trips to the emergency room. Avoid this problem by lifting with the power of your legs.

5. Don’t just sit there. Get up and stretch once every hour, no matter what you are doing. Sitting for long periods causes stiffness and strain that persists, long after a change of position. Over time, this practice will hurt your back and cause joint problems.

6. Buy a good mattress. Find one that is just right: soft mattresses allow your spine to sag during sleep, while a hard one will push up on your bones, causing distress. Either way you are in for serious back aches, so do a little research before you buy a mattress so it provides you with adequate support.

7. Work to minimize or control stress. If you have no control over the levels of stress you experience, and then learn to manage it with relaxation techniques like meditation or Tai Chi. Take time for enjoying yourself and just kicking back, otherwise your back may be in constant agony.

8. Try seeing a chiropractor. These people specialize in back problems and have seen it all; chances are good that they will not only be able to ease your pain, but also identify the cause of it!

9. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes. Footwear has advanced considerably over the years and now provides comfort with style. Look for orthopedic shoes that will mind your back all day, or try professional-grade insoles for extra back support.

10. Invest in ergonomics. In your car, home and office you probably have different seats that aren’t taking good care of your back. Visit a specialty store and pick up a few pillows or massage pads that will work toward reducing pain and the stress life places squarely on your shoulders.

The above 10 tips should help ease your back pain immediately and into the future. Take special care of your back; it’s the only one you’ve got!