A guide to Avoiding Back Pain and Injury

Every construction worker knows the agony of back pain after a long day work.  Construction work often involves lifting heavy objects, repetitive movements and contorting one's body in peculiar ways to get the job done.  

The most common injury in construction workers is muscle or joint injuries as a result of strains and sprains.   The nature of the job involves risk of back pain and damage caused by tasks like:

   body vibration from operating heavy equipment

   lifting and twisting at the same time or bending while lifting

   repetitive tasks like digging

   lifting awkward items with unusual shapes

   reaching to lift

   moving too suddenly

   lifting heavy objects

   repetitive one-sided movements like digging or using one-handed power tools

Wearing a hard hat is a standard safety precaution for every construction worker, but I would advise taking good care of your back.  

Avoid back pain and severe injury by following these simple guidelines.

1) Warm Up

Before working it is helpful to do a simple warm-up to increase blood circulation and reduce the chance of injury.  Include stretches in your warm-up and prepare your body for the work to come.

2) Good Posture

When lifting any heavy object, always do so with good posture.  Bend your knees and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and lift with your legs while tightening your stomach muscles.  Always try to use slow and steady movements.  Avoid bending at your waist and straining to lift an object using your back muscles.  It can lead to acute lower back pain.  Try and keep your shoulders and head above your waist, not tipping back or forward.  Remember to face the object that you are going to lift.  Where possible, carry the object close to your body, in the chest area between your elbows and shoulders.  Keep your elbows bent and by your side to avoid strain on the lower back. 

3) Develop strong core muscles and abs

Strong core muscles help you lift weight correctly, supporting your posture and taking strain off of the lower back.  Regular excercise with inversion table will help you stay supple and can relieve stiffness.  Eat healthy and maintain a healthy body weight.  Being over weight will add to the strain on your back. 

4) Wear a Support Belt 

Support belts can greatly assist in preventing and reducing back pain.  In addition to the added support, the belt serves as a reminder to engage your core muscles and maintain good posture while you lift.

5) Get help 

Where ever possible use rolling carts and cushioned grips.  Divide loads into smaller parts or get assistance from a co-worker with heavier objects or irregular shaped items.

Due to the nature of construction work, there will always be awkward positions to maintain.  So try your best to avoid back pain and injury by following these simple guidelines.

 

If you do experience continued back pain, it is best to seek advice from a doctor as soon as possible to avoid permanent problems.

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