Back injuries cost American industries 10 to 14 billion dollars a year in worker compensations and about 100 million lost work days annually according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH.) If you have a healthy lifestyle that includes the following you can help maintain a healthy back.
« Attention to posture
« Conditioning and body mechanics
« Avoiding obesity
« Minimizing emotional stress
Diane W. Braza MD. Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin says that if you have proper posture, conditioning and body mechanics will help lead to healthier back and limit back injuries. She also states that up to 80% of Americans suffer back pain at some point in their lives. The cause of 90% of back pain is caused by strains or sprains of back muscles, ligaments or soft tissues. The remaining 10% of back pain is caused by more serious conditions like degenerative disk disease or herniated disks in the spine. All the cases mentions above can be prevented or treated by using her three key components in preventing back injuries.
Proper posture is very important whether you are standing, sitting or sleeping. A good technique to help with proper posture is holding in the belly to keep it from protruding and putting excess stress on the spine. Over time poor posture can lead to a weakened spine and abdominal muscles that can contribute to back pain and injuries.
Conditioning of the body and cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise as well as strengthening and stretching out the muscles. Some studies have shown that smoking can contribute to back injuries. Swimming, walking, and short distance running is a great way to help condition your body. These exercises can also help increase the blood flow to your spine which will help reduce the risk of back injuries.
Body mechanics refer to the way we use our body. These mechanics include lifting, bending and stretching. Anytime that we are lifting we need to think of how we are lifting an item before we lift it. Remember to always to lift with your knees and keep that item close to you as you lift it up. If the item is too heavy ask for help. Make sure that you pace yourself while you are at work. Make sure that you take your breaks. This will help your back relax so that you do not strain it. When standing you want to vary the position of your body.
Here are some key techniques to remember to help prevent back injuries.
« Keep you back as straight as possible and maintain proper posture when lifting an object
« Bend with your knees and hips not at the back or waist
« Pivot the hips and not the back
« If possible lift from an area that is waist high
« Never reach above your head to lift an object use a step ladder.