If your work involves lifting or more physical activities you need to be careful that you are not putting yourself at risk of injury or long-term health problems.
One of the biggest causes of back injury at work is due to lifting incorrectly. Additionally, continuous repetitive activities, or staying in the same position for extended periods of time, can also lead to pain and discomfort. Being aware of how to move correctly when at work can keep you healthy for longer and keep you safe from injury.
- Before you lift any object, try to establish its weight and if you can indeed lift it safely. If in any doubt, don’t attempt it.
- Check your destination. Make sure you know where you are going to deposit your load and you have no obstructions in the way.
- Lift in stages. See if you can phase your lift. For example from floor to table and then to destination. Once at the destination can you lift it in stages to its desired location?
The golden rule of lifting – Bend at the knees and not your back!
- Remember do not bend forward from your back to lift an item.
- Before you start to lift make sure your footing is stable, keeping a wide stance.
- Get a good hold of the item and keep the item close to your body as you move up, using your legs to straighten up.
- Avoid twisting your back/body when lifting or positioning a load.
Awkward places and repetitive movements
If your work involves getting into awkward places or repetitive movements for extended periods of time, this can also put additional stress and strain on your muscles, joints and associated tissues. Overhead movements when decorating, working under cars, on knees fixing carpets or leaning over to fix pipes, are all examples. The demands of your job will often dictate what can you do, but you may want to consider:
- Rotating jobs. If you’ve got a number of things to do, try and rotate from one activity to another after a shorter period of time so you don’t get stuck in one position or activity.
- Take regular breaks. Short regular breaks that allow you to move into different positions can be helpful
- Keep a healthy lifestyle. With a physically demanding job its important to make sure you are eating healthy, and still keeping your body fit for work. Dependant on your job you may want to consider doing other physical activities for fun that will either build strength or your cardiovascular stamina.
How your osteopath can help
Hopefully you can keep healthy at work by introducing the above advice but if you do find yourself suffering from aches and pains such as back and neck ache, elbow or wrist pain, speak to your osteopath who will be able to provide further advice on healthy working habits and treatment if necessary to get you back to work.