UT University Health Services

Back Pain

40% of UT students reported having back pain during the last school year. Back pain can result from an injury, but it can also be caused by poor posture or improper weight distribution like a heavy backpack.

Take care of your back

  • Practice good posture.
  • Wear your backpack correctly. Use both straps and limit weight. A loaded backpack should weigh less than 15% of your body weight.
  • Exercise regularly, and stretch before you exercise.
  • Lift with your legs.

Practice safe lifting techniques

  • Balance: Create a wide base by balancing your body over your feet.
  • Alignment: Keep your back straight.
  • Contract: Contract your stomach and keep the weight of the object close to you body. Don't lift or move heavy objects over your head.
  • Knees: Bend your knees, and use your legs-not your back-to lift.

Treat your backache

  • If you have tense muscles or recent minor injury, apply an ice pack several times a day for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Take a pain medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin.
  • Rest.

Call the UHS Nurse Advice Line
(512) 475-6877 (NURS) if:

  • Pain persists or impairs your usual daily activities.
  • You experience any tingling, numbness, or reduced ability to move.
  • Pain is accompanied by a fever.

Online Resources

The Cleveland Clinic for a Healthy Back

Boston University Ergonomic Self-Help Guide

back exercises

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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