Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Back pain affects the majority of individuals at some point in life, but certain groups of people are more prone to both acute and chronic bouts of spine pain. One such group are manual laborers, who are tasked with performing physical labor day in and day out for decades. Today, we share five tips manual laborers can use to protect their spine from injury on the job and when they are off the clock.
One of the most common ways a manual laborer hurts their spine is because they don’t take the time to help their body transition from a passive state to an active state. You’d be amazed at how many people who suffer back strains and sprains say the injury happened within the first hour of their shift. Had they taken the time to warm up, stretch and let their muscles slowly get ready for activity, they may have been able to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.
Overstress injuries are harder to prevent than injuries that occur due to you not warming up properly because you can’t always take a break or stop working if you begin to notice pain in your back. Many people try to push through their pain, which is admirable, but can lead to problems. Talk to your supervisor about your pain or try and plan activities so that you can mix in some less stressful jobs in between tasks that are harder on your spine. Also, work smarter, not harder. Use dollys or a tandem lift to move heavy objects instead of trying to do the job by yourself and potentially exposing your spine to injury.
Invest in a quality work boot or shoe that has plenty of cushion for your feet. You’re likely on your feet for the majority of the day, and if your feet aren’t supported, your spine is going to have to take on the added stress. If you can’t find a supportive pair of work-compliant shoes, consider purchasing cushioned orthotic inserts. Supportive shoes can go a long way in protecting your back from job site injuries.
Braces, Wraps and Other Spine Supporters
Shoes aren’t the only item you purchase that can help to protect your spine on the job site. Flexible braces or lumbar support wraps can help protect your spinal muscles and vertebrae from shifting or straining. See what works best for you and talk to your doctor about what spinal devices may help to protect your back when you’re on the job.
Exercise and Conditioning
The final tip to protect your spine from injury while you’re working manual labor is to strengthen your back muscles when you’re not at the job. By strengthening key muscle groups, you can reduce your likelihood of injury on the job. Make sure you add plenty of exercises that target your core to your regular gym routine. If you have back pain, ask your doctor which exercises can best help to strengthen that specific area and prevent it from becoming a problem on the job.