Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care back exercises pain control warning signs Prevention lifting proper posture Outlook Underlying Cause Anatomy

Acute Back Strain Prevention

Prevention of acute back strain or sprain includes:

Acute Back Strain Lifting

Tips for proper lifting:

  • Look at the label and find out how much the object weighs.
  • Plan the lift in advance.
  • A back support may help you maintain the correct position, but it does not decrease the risk of back injury.
  • Avoid twisting as you lift: always start from a position that allows your back to move up and down, only.
  • Stand close to the object you wish to lift. Place one foot alongside the object and the other behind it. Keep your body weight over your feet.
  • Lift with your legs and keep your back straight. Bend your knees and keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Lift the load smoothly and keep the object close to your body: do not jerk or tug the object.
  • Maintain solid footing and keep your feet a shoulder's width apart as you walk when you carry an object.
  • Keep your back straight. Change direction by moving your feet.
  • Observe the same technique when putting items down.

Acute Back Strain Proper Posture

Maintaining good posture helps prevent and treat back injuries.

A chair with low back support helps protect your back while sitting. Try to keep your back straight, rather than slouching. Do not sit at the edge of your chair while working. Sit close to your work so that you do not have to lean over your desk. Sit in a chair that allows you to place both feet on the floor.

While standing, rest one foot on a small step: switch feet every 10-20 minutes. Do not stand with your knees locked or your stomach relaxed. The abdominal muscles support the lower back and spine.

Your work surface should not force you to bend over at the waist. Raise the work surface, so that you do not have to slouch. Do not wear high-heels, hard-heels, or platform shoes.

Reaching and twisting
Arrange the work place, so that you do not have to reach or twist the body. Move your entire body toward an object, rather than reaching or twisting with your arms extended.

Kneel down on one knee when you pick up small objects. Place one hand on the floor and support your upper body with one arm. Bend your knees and hips when you lift objects; do not bend your back.

Remember: lifting a 10 pound object while your knees are straight, and your back is bent, places 120 pounds of force on your lower back. Use the powerful muscles in your legs to lift.

Continue to Acute Back Strain Outlook

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Acute Back Strain References
  1. Papadopoulos EC, Khan SN. Piriformis syndrome and low back pain: a new classification and review of the literature. Orthop Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;35(1):65-71. [15062719]
  2. Rugulies R, Krause N. Job strain, iso-strain, and the incidence of low back and neck injuries. A 7.5-year prospective study of San Francisco transit operators. Soc Sci Med. 2005 Jul;61(1):27-39. [1584795]
  3. Tveito TH, Hysing M, Eriksen HR. Low back pain interventions at the workplace: a systematic literature review. Occup Med (Lond). 2004 Jan;54(1):3-13. [14963248]
  4. van der Roer N, Goossens ME, Evers SM, van Tulder MW. What is the most cost-effective treatment for patients with low back pain? A systematic review. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Aug;19(4):671-84. [15949783]
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