5 Ways to Strain Your Back

A doctor does a lower back exam on a patient.
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People can be creatures of habit and often have weekly or even daily routines. These routines, a unique blend of what we need to get accomplished, and what we want to get accomplished in a specific time frame. Your routine may include:

Grocery Shopping

Picking Up A Child

Vacuuming

Gardening or Mowing

Sudden Rigorous Exercise

Time is often a precious commodity, therefore we may become focused on getting the task completed more so than the steps needed to get it completed while maintaining back safety. It is often the simplest of tasks that can put you at risk for physical injury. That's right; you could potentially strain your back during these everyday activities. Do not cheat yourself into a back injury for the sake of speed. You can get your tasks accomplished both expediently and safely.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep you injury free:

- Core Strength - Build and maintain the strength in your abdominal and back muscles. These muscles work together to support your body in motion. If your abdominal muscles are weak, your back muscles must work harder. Increase exercise activities slowly; do not jump right into an advanced exercise routine. Start small and work your way up as your body tolerates, making sure to stretch before and after every workout.

- Posture - You should be able to draw an imaginary line from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. If your line isn't straight, then neither is your posture! Stand up straight, no slouching allowed. In any position; standing, sitting, or even kneeling keep your head, shoulders, and back in a straight line. Avoid reaching; move closer to the object to maintain your posture.

- Body Mechanics

a) When bending- Keep your back and neck inline as you bend at the hips and knees. Always remember to tighten your abdominal muscles.

b) When lifting more than 5 pounds - Get close to the load and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your back and neck inline, bend at the hips, and lift with your legs and buttocks.

c) Always carry a balanced load - Do not carry all of an objects weight on one side of your body. Here are a few examples: If carrying bags, distribute the weight of the bags equally to both hands/arms or carry bags close and in front of your body. If carrying a child hold in front and close to your body. Do not balance weight on your hip.

d) When turning- Do not twist. Pivot your feet and face toward the desired direction.

** Take breaks throughout any activity! Rome wasn't built in a day. Frequent breaks and change in body position will decrease muscle fatigue.

Work with your body's natural abilities and not against them. Be kind; keep your spine in line.

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