Back pain is something that most people will experience at some point in their lives, and many might even suffer from chronic back pain. There are certain industries, however, that expose workers to endeavors that put them at a higher risk for back pain. This includes the construction industry, which often consists of workers who put extra stress on their bodies due to the nature of their work.
Causes of Back Pain
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Health and Safety and Health (ELCOSH), most construction injuries result from strains and sprains in the muscles as well as injuries to the bones, joints, and nerves.
The added stress on your structural framework is due to certain movements and tasks you may engage in repeatedly that put you at a higher risk of injury or damage to the back, and may include:
● Unequal lifting (twisting, reaching, or bending while carrying heavy objects)
● Heavy lifting
● Long hours
● Awkward posture stances
● Heavy tool belt weight
● Repetitive tasks (repetition of movements can cause imbalance)
As a construction worker, you may relate to all of these situations and more. It’s easy to see why the construction industry is full of workers with acute or chronic back pain that can lead to limited range of movement, as well as other injuries.
Ways to Prevent and Alleviate Back Pain
The bright side of back pain is that there are preventative measures and holistic pain management tools that can save a lot of backaches and improve your quality of life. In addition, there are many heavy lifting tools made in the USA available to assist you in your manual labor when a co-worker can’t lend a hand.
Before we look at some promising resources and tips that may help you relieve your back pain and prevent further injury, let’s look at some general lifting tips as the foundation of your “Safety First” preventative plan.
General Lifting Tips
● Break heavier loads into smaller quantities before lifting
● Always engage your stomach muscles and use your legs when lifting
● Pay special attention when repeating a movement on only one side, digging, loading vehicles, and driving lift trucks
● Place heaviest items close to the door or tailgate
● Utilize truck loaders and bins whenever possible
● Narrow the distance between your body and the object you’re lifting
● Follow OSHA recommendations for tool belt weight.
It is of the utmost importance to be aware of your movements while at work, especially when lifting. However, true management and prevention of back pain occurs only when work safety is accompanied by some healthy lifestyle choices.
No matter what work a person does, their brains and bodies need to recuperate after a long day at work. All too often, this translates into spending the last few hours of the day lounging on the couch watching television or glued to the phone.
The kind of “chilling out” that is most effective, however, consists of small designated chunks of time, especially before bed, for a relaxing activity that clears your head and reduces tension in your muscles. This will trigger your brain and body to relax and prepare for sleep. Example activities could include a walk with your dog or some stretching exercises. Doing the same before you start your day will help relax your muscles in preparation for manual labor. De-stressing goes a long way in managing back pain.
Research Products that Help with Lifting
There are several lifting tools available on the market today. The Lift Lender, for example, is one of the best multi-purpose tools to keep in mind. This back injury prevention tool minimizes the use of your back when lifting and goes above and beyond the call of duty of your typical safety belt. The Lift Lender is great for picking up and moving items that are difficult to grip. It also makes lifting and moving extremely heavy items much easier and overcomes awkward positions that normally results in back strain.
Don’t Be Too Proud to Ask for Help
Construction workers often lift more than the EOSHA recommendation of 51 pounds as the limit for one worker to lift at a time. In fact, sometimes it may seem impossible in the construction world to avoid lifting more. However, it’s important to ask for help when lifting if help is available. Taking the time to ask for assistance can mean that you avoid a potential injury, as can the smart use of tools for lifting heavy objects.
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
It may seem like you stretch enough at work to meet your quota for the day but taking short breaks throughout your day to do some stretches that relax the muscles that you use the most will increase fluidity and guard against injury.
There is no getting around the fact that construction work i challenging, to say the least. When you love your work and want to continue doing it for years to come, however, there are simple and effective ways to support your body throughout your career, especially your back. Keep our tips above in mind, invest in an effective hand tool lift assist, and enjoy your career for the long haul.