Preventing Back Injury
Back injury is one of the most common and costly workplace injuries. It is estimated that 80% of all Americans will suffer from back injuries. Yet, preventing back injuries can be as simple as taking a few minutes to warm up, evaluating and properly performing job tasks, and strengthening your back at home.
Most back pain is Mechanical, people have increased pain with particular motions of their backs. Most mechanical back pain is not caused by a slipped or ruptured disc.
Lifting and Proper Body Mechanics
Proper posture and body mechanics can help to protect your body, especially your back, from pain and injury. Back pain is usually the result of a number of contributory factors. Poor posture and faulty body mechanics are generally involved. Below are some instructions on how to lift properly and protect your back from injury.
- Squat to lift and lower.
- Do not bend at the waist
- Keep you lower back bowed in while bending over.
- Keep the weight as close to you as possible.
- Bow your back in and raise up with your head first.
- If you must turn, turn with your feet, not your body.
- Never jerk or twist.
- Put the weight down by keeping your lower back bowed in.
- Keep your feet apart, staggered if possible.
- Wear shoes with non-slip soles.
- Try to keep frequently used items within arms reach.
- Don't try to stretch for things above your head or out of reach.
Possible Risk for Back Injury
- Lifting with your back bowed out.
- Bending and reaching with your back bowed out.
- Slouched sitting
- Jerking or twisted.
- Lack of proper rest
- Loss of strength and flexibility
- Stressful living and working habits
- Poor nutrition.
About 90% of mechanical back pain will go away on its own with 4 to 6 weeks. The most important thing in acute back pain is to avoid excessive bed rest and keep the muscles in the back from deconditioning and weakening.
Treatments may include ice, anti-inflammatory medications (if tolerated), and modifications of movements, and some sort of low intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking or slow swimming.
Although there can be no accurate prediction of when an accident will occur, learning to lift properly and making sure your work area is as "back friendly" as possible will help to decrease the severity of back problems.