To avoid back pain and help prevent a slipped disc, you should keep mobile, exercise regularly, maintain good posture and lift heavy objects correctly.

Read more about preventing back pain.


Regular exercise can slow down the age-related deterioration of the discs in your back. It can also help keep your supporting back muscles strong and supple.

Make sure you warm up and cool down properly before and after a workout or sports activity. If you're recovering from a slipped disc, avoid high-impact activities, such as running and aerobics.

Read more about warming up before exercising and stretching after exercising.

Healthy weight

Being overweight can put extra strain and pressure on your back, so maintaining a healthy weight will help ease the pressure.

You can use the healthy weight calculator to find out whether you're a healthy weight for your height.

Read more about obesity and how to lose weight.


It's very important that you use the correct technique when lifting.

When lifting heavy objects:

  • think before you lift and make sure you can manage the weight
  • slightly bend your back, hips and knees at the start of the lift
  • keep the load close to your waist
  • avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways
  • keep your head up and look ahead as you carry the load

Read more about how to lift safely.


When sitting or driving for long periods, make sure your seat is comfortable and supportive. If possible, take regular breaks to stretch and walk around.

If your job involves using a computer, take regular breaks away from the computer screen. Make sure the computer screen is at eye level and directly in front of you so you don't have to twist or bend to see it.

Sit in a comfortable position with enough space to move around, and don't stay in the same position for too long.

Your employer should provide you with information and training about working with computers, including advice about the best way to sit and position your equipment.

Read more about how to sit correctly.


Always try to keep a good posture. Walk or stand with your head and shoulders slightly back.

When sitting at a desk, make sure your chair is the correct height for the desk. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees.

Read more about back pain at work and workplace health.

Supportive mattress

To help avoid back pain, sleep on a bed with a mattress that matches and supports your spine's natural curves. You should also use a supportive pillow to reduce the risk of neck pain.

Page last reviewed: 13/10/2016

Next review due: 13/10/2019