Back strain due to overexertion accounts for an estimated one fourth of all workplace injuries. Many of these injuries are the result of poor lifting technique.
With this in mind, remember these simple tips to avoid such injuries:
• To begin with, bring the load as close to your body as possible before you lift. Also, recognize that lifting below knee height or above shoulder height is more strenuous than lifting between these points.
• Since leg muscles are stronger than back muscles, it is better to bend and push off from the knees than the waist. Separate your feet, placing one slightly in front of the other when you lift. Avoid twisting your body when carrying a heavy load.
• Make sure you warm up and cool down for each weight lifting session. Your warm-up session before lifting weights should include stretching exercises, calisthenics and jogging.
• When you begin each lifting exercise, use small amount of weight at first and then progress to heavier weights. Stretching is also important during your cool down.
• Contrary to popular perceptions, a back belt is not a personal protective device that will help avoid lifting injuries in the workplace.
If you currently suffer from back pain, chronic or acute, consider finding a Physical Therapist near you. In addition to alleviating your pain, they can also prescribe exercises that will strengthen your back and allow you to return to heavier lifting safely and more efficiently!