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Back Injuries and Back Pain: The Role of Stretching and Mindfulness

Back injuries are one of the most common types of workplace injuries. They can easily be suffered at work in lifting objects and in many other ways.

As a result, back injury issues are frequent in Pennsylvania workers' compensation claims.

Nationally, the number of work days lost to back pain every year is estimated to be in the millions. The amount of money spent on healthcare costs is also correspondingly large.

Many back injuries, especially those suffered at work, do not have a quick fix. Severe, chronic back pain may require back surgery or other medical interventions.

But in a new book called "The 7 Minute Back Pain Solution," an orthopedic surgeon from New York named Gerard Girasole outlines several basic steps that people can take to address back pain.

Many of these steps center on stretching core muscles in the lower back. These include abdominal muscles, of course, but also pelvic and hip muscles. Dr. Girasole believes that exercising these core muscles in crucial to avoiding back pain.

He also advocates that we all become more aware of how everything we do - every move we make - affects our backs. Dr. Girasole's term for this is "back mindfulness."

To promote this mindfulness, Dr. Girasole's book puts forward a 7-minute stretching exercise that stretches one key muscle per minute.

Again, these stretches are not a panacea for serious back pain. But they can help maintain good back health for many people. And that is easier said than done in a country when 8 out of 10 people struggle at some point in their lives with back pain.

Source: "Words of Wellness: "'The 7 Minute Back Pain Solution'," Loren Grush, Fox News, 5-2-12

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