A whopping 80% of us Westerners can expect to experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. For most, the cause is unknown.

What do people do when they have pain? They become less active. Their muscles weaken. What happens when they try to return to normal life? Their weak muscles make them even more prone to injury.

A systematic review and meta-analysis found exercise alone or in combination with educational programs to be effective at preventing lower back pain.

Read: Can exercise help you fight off a cold?

Education alone, shoe insoles and back belts did not appear to be effective.

If you’re curious as to what exercises and stretches the study participants engaged in, check out the Appendix of this study. They even provide you with the soundtrack.

N.B. My personal experience with lower back pain stemmed from tension in my legs. If I failed to thoroughly stretch my IT band post-workout, it was not a pretty feeling the next day. My solution: Investing in a foam roller.

Read: How to run twice a week and live 6 years longer

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NYTimes Orthotics are out. Exercise is in.

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