Work Smart. Work Safe.
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When I hurt, you hurt; when I’m comfortable you’re comfortable

By Theresa Trant

Over 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. You could be one of them.

Hi. This is your back speaking. When I hurt you are impacted. This means you feel pain and discomfort. You might not be able to move so well and need to see a doctor for advice. You might miss out on some strenuous recreational activities. You might even miss work which could mean decreased pay. Not good.

Yes when I’m hurting no one is comfortable; not you, nor I. The good news is that in most cases of back pain a little time and exercise really help. But even more importantly, you can be proactive and avoid back pain in the first place. By you doing a few small things carefully you can prevent me from making your life a pain.  Here’s how:

  1. Smart lifting prevents pain. Be sure to bend at your hips. Most people think bending their knees is enough to prevent hurting. The better lifting form is by using your hips and pushing your chest out a bit. Keep the object you are lifting close to your body to decrease the amount of force needed to lift it. By decreasing the amount of force you keep me safe from all kinds of pain and injury. There’s more valuable information on safe lifting techniques here: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sports-and-spine-injuries/three-easy-rules-avoid-back-injury 
  2. Back friendly office space. Think of me as you arrange your office work space. Make sure you have a good chair that supports me and is aligned for your body shape (legs, height, etc.). I like arm rests! They take the pressure off me. It’s also good to ensure your computer monitor is placed appropriately to avoid straining me. You’ll find this site helpful for creating back friendly office space: http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/pain/back/how-to-prevent-back-pain4.htm 
  3. Keep me active! I don’t break easily so it’s okay to challenge me on a regular basis. In fact the worst thing for me is to be inactive because you are sitting a lot. Get up and move around! Feel free to give me a good stretch. Keep me strong by exercising me (http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/pain/back/how-to-prevent-back-pain4.htm).

Another great resource is this simple booklet on keeping me in good shape and written by WCB-Alberta: http://www.wcb.ab.ca/pdfs/public/back_basics.pdf

I’m not asking for much. Just remember to practice safe lifting, create a back friendly office space and stay active to prevent injuring me. Remember…when I’m comfortable you’re comfortable.

This is your back speaking: Work smart and stay safe!

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