The majority of adults in the United States deal with some kind of back pain. Back pain can be caused by conditions like the aging process, urinary tract infections, and other non-injury-related conditions in addition to pain caused by injury. Here, I give you three tips for preventing back injury.
Tip #1: Lifting Techniques
Always lift in a proper stance with the back in an upright position and the legs slightly bent. This is known as the figure “4” lifting position, in which the leg muscles bear the largest part of the lift.
Grasp the item to be lifted with both hands and pull it close to the body, making sure it is held firmly.
Never try to twist at the waist when lifting or moving an object from one point to another. A twist at the back can possibly cause injury to the lower back.
Never try to lift objects that you know to be too heavy for one person to lift. Utilize lifting devices whenever possible and seek help when there are no lifting devices available.
It may be necessary to seek the help of more than one person if the load is bulky or too heavy for one or two people.
Never stand flat-footed and arch your back as you try to pick an object up from the floor.
When driving a vehicle, always see that your knees are higher than your hips/buttocks. This allows your lower back to be in a properly aligned position that will lessen the chance of a lower back injury.
Never try to lower or raise an object overhead. This causes the lower back to arch and places undue strain on the lower back, and can result in lower back injury.
Tip #2: Exercise
Another key to keeping a healthy back is to implement and use a good exercise program. Before trying to do any back exercise, particularly if you have had any type of back pain, talk to your doctor.
A number of easy warm-up exercises will allow you to loosen up your muscles and back. These exercises are simple and take little time and space to perform.
A common warm-up exercise is a brief brisk walk of about 3-4 minutes. This can be done at home or at work prior to trying any normal job duties. This brisk walk can even be a walk-in place.
Exercises to help keep a healthy back and loosen a stiff back include leg raises, half sit-ups, pelvic tilt, and nose-to-knee touches.
Tip #3: Other Techniques
Whenever possible, workstations should be at or slightly above waist level, which is the most comfortable lifting zone for the back.
Proper sitting techniques aid in reducing tired backs and in the prevention of back pain or injury. Keep the knees higher than the buttocks and the back straight.
If you are required to perform standing-type jobs during most of the day, practice proper standing techniques.
One tip is to use a small stool that can support one foot for a time and then alternate to the other foot. This will help in keeping the back from tiring.
If there is no stool available, you can bend at the knees occasionally to keep the back from tiring.
Good sleeping posture is necessary for an employee to wake up feeling refreshed and with a rested back. This includes the proper choice of bedding, particularly the mattress. If the bedding sags and the back is bent in an awkward position, the person will wake up with a tired and sore back.
One method of correcting a sagging bed is to place a sheet of plywood cut to the size of the mattress under the mattress to firm up the sag.
The key to keeping a good, healthy back is to practice proper lifting techniques and exercises. Eliminating back injuries while on the job will help employers and employees live happier, healthier lives.