Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Painful Back after Injury Prevention

Strategies to prevent back injury include:

Painful Back after Injury Lifting

Strategies for safe lifting with a back injury include:

  • Look at the label and find out how much the object weighs.
  • Ask for help if you need it.
  • Plan the move in advance.
  • Stand closely to the object you wish to lift.
  • Keep your body weight over your feet while you lift.
  • Bend your knees and keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Lift with your legs while you keep your back straight.
  • Keep objects close to your body while lifting.
  • Lift the load smoothly, without jerking, tugging, or twisting.
  • Avoid twisting your back: keep your back straight while lifting.
  • Maintain balance: keep your feet one shoulder-width apart as you walk while carrying a heavy object.
  • Change direction by moving your feet. Do not change direction by twisting your back.
  • Observe the same technique when putting items down.
  • Use a back support: acts as a reminder to lift correctly, but does not decrease the risk for back injury.

Painful Back after Injury 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 Painful Back after Injury Outlook

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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