Back Supports Tips

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What’s the best way to protect my back when lifting?

If it feels good, wear it.

With or without back support, the best way to keep from straining your sacro-iliac is to learn proper lifting technique. Experts recommended the following steps for lifting loads of more than 25 pounds. Practice proper footwork. Position your feet properly. Place one foot next to the load and your other foot right behind it.Bend your knees. Squat down, keeping you head erect and your back straight Get a grip. Grip the load using your full palm. Fingers alone are too weak. Get close. Bring the load close to your body and keep your elbows and arms near you. Stay balanced. Center your body weight over your feet, then start lifting with a thrust of your legs. If you must turn, don't twist your body. Point your foot in the direction you're turning. Also, if the item is too heavy or bulky, don't be a hero, get help. Your body will thank you.

   
How can I prevent back injuries?

What a relief!

With or without back support, the best way to keep from straining your sacro-iliac is to learn proper lifting technique. Experts recommended the following steps for lifting loads of more than 25 pounds. Practice proper footwork. Position your feet properly. Place one foot next to the load and your other foot right behind it.Bend your knees. Squat down, keeping you head erect and your back straight Get a grip. Grip the load using your full palm. Fingers alone are too weak. Get close. Bring the load close to your body and keep your elbows and arms near you. Stay balanced. Center your body weight over your feet, then start lifting with a thrust of your legs. If you must turn, don't twist your body. Point your foot in the direction you're turning.

   
What's OSHA say about back support belts?

Oh, my achin' back!

When it comes to benefits of the back support belt, the jury seems to be out. Some people swear by them and wouldn't be caught dead lifting anything without them. Others, can take 'em or leave 'em. After reviewing scientific studies on the value of back support belts in preventing lower back injury, OSHA came to the conclusion that they had no conclusion. So they didn't make wearing a back belt mandatory. So until further notice, the use of back support belts and braces is optional, unless an employer insists. It sort of all boils down to personal preference. If it works for you, go for it. In any case, it couldn't hurt.

   
How can I prevent back injuries?

Exercise common sense

A little black belt alone is not enough to keep your back from going out of whack. The best way to prevent back injuries is to stay in physical shape, learn how to lift properly, and wear a back support properly. The following types of exercises are recommended to help heep your back fit: Aerobic training builds cardiovascular conditioning. This is any exercise that keeps your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time. Strength training helps you build muscle and endurance. It can include exercises like pushups or working out with weights. Flexibility training improves your range of motion. Many times injuries occur because muscles are tight; when you try to move or lift an object the muscle tears.

   
What is the proper way to wear a back support belt?

Keep your back in whack

When you choose to use a back support belt, you can't just throw it on any old way. First of all, you need to make sure it fits and has not lost its elasticity. A back support without elasticity is like a boot without laces. Once you have the belt around your waist, cinch it up as much as possible to avoid straining your back. The front of the brace should be near your navel and the back of the back support brace on your lower back.

   
How common are lower back injuries?

The painful truth

Your back is a fairly complex system of vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments, nerves and other stuff. According to back specialists, there are more than 24 different areas of the back that can be injured. Statistics show that between 60% and 80% of the general public will experience back pain, ranging from minor muscle strains to herniated disks. The majority of back injuries are preventable. Many people hurt their backs while leaning over to pick up something light like a newspaper or a pencil. It's not the weight of these objects that throws out the back, but the thousands of times over the years that these things were lifted incorrectly. Eventually,the back just can't take it anymore. That's why a lower or brace alone can be at best only a partial solution.

   
What's the story on back support belts?

Get with the program

According to the Department of Labor stats, in 2003 there were 345, 294 on-the-job back injuries. That's a whole world of pain that none of us needs. To help prevent more pain and suffering in the workplace, many employers provide back support in the form of belts or braces. You could think of a back support belt as a kind of elastic cummerbund. A good one will have a double pull system that provides general tightness to the whole waist and creates compression over the spine. It also helps if the back brace uses a fulcrum, such as an air bladder or foam piece, to increase pressure over the spine

   
What are the benefits of a back belt or brace?

Earn a black belt in heavy lifting

In the opinion of some experts (but not all), back braces help protect injured muscles and ligaments of the spine by providing back support directly over the painful or weak area. Wearing the back belt during an injury is said to support and protect the damaged areas. As the damaged tissue heals, it is suggested that you wear the back support belt less, but always keep it handy in case you need to do any lifting.

   
Can back belts and braces cure back pain?

Bracing yourself is a cinch

Chances are, not in this lifetime. In the opinion of most experts, that stabbing pain you feel in your lower back didn't just show up overnight. The agony you feel is your back giving you hell for all the pain and suffering you put it through because of your lousy lifting habits over the years. Now the chickens have come home to roost. The pain may come and go, but it most likely won't ever go away forever. Medication, massage, whirlpools and lower back support may give you temporary relief, but you have to understand that the damage is done, and Mr. Pain in the back will remain a pain in the neck for the foreseeable future.

   
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Lynne Christen