Four out of five adults will experience significant low back pain sometime during their life. Work-related back injuries are the nation’s number one occupational hazard, but you could suffer back pain from activities at home and at play, too. The Spine Center treats a wide range of spine-related pain disorders.
Are You at Risk?
You are most at risk for back pain if:
- Your job requires frequent bending and lifting
- You must twist your body when lifting and carrying an object
- You must lift and carry in a hurry
- You are overweight
- You do not exercise regularly or do not engage in recreational activities
- You smoke
If you are a caregiver for an ill or injured family member, you are at greatest risk for back pain when:
- Pulling the person who is reclining in bed into a sitting position
- Transferring the person from the bed to a chair
- Leaning over the person for long periods of time
Whether you are lifting and moving a person or a heavy object, the guidelines are the same.
- Plan ahead what you want to do and don’t be in a hurry.
- Spread your feet shoulder-width apart to give yourself a solid base of support.
- Bend your knees.
- Tighten your stomach muscles.
- Position the person or object close to your body before lifting.
- Lift with your leg muscles. Never lift an object by keeping your legs stiff, while bending over it.
- Avoid twisting your body; instead, point your toes in the direction you want to move and pivot in that direction.
- When placing an object on a high shelf, move close to the shelf. Do not stand far away and extend your arms with the object in your hands.
- Maintain the natural curve of your spine; don’t bend at your waist.
- When appropriate, use an assistive device such as a transfer belt, sliding board or draw sheet to move a person.
- Do not try to lift by yourself something that is too heavy or an awkward shape. Get help.
How to Prevent Back Pain
- Use the correct lifting and moving techniques.
- Exercise regularly to keep the muscles that support your back strong and flexible.
- Don’t slouch; poor posture puts a strain on your lower back.
- Maintain your proper body weight to avoid straining your back muscles.
Keep a positive attitude about your job and homelife; studies show that persons who are unhappy at work or home tend to have more back problems and take longer to recover than persons who have a positive attitude. If you have back pain and would like to schedule an appointment with a Spine Center physician, please call (847) 628-8147.