Reduce lower back pain: 3 tips from surgeons group

Photo: martin-dm/iStockphoto

Rosemont, IL — In light of data showing that about 1 in 4 working adults have low back pain, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is offering tips to strengthen and protect the back.

“Good musculoskeletal health is not just about treating problems when they arise; it’s about taking proactive steps to prevent them in the first place,” Alan S. Hilibrand, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery, said in an AAOS press release. “By maintaining proper ergonomics at our workstations and building the strength of our core stabilizing muscles, we can significantly reduce the risk of developing debilitating chronic or debilitating back pain and related conditions.”

So, whether working from home or in an office, or a combination of both, “it’s important to invest in your musculoskeletal health and protect your back,” AAOS says. Here’s how:

1. Check your posture. “Sitting properly is the first step to protecting your back. You may not realize how often you slouch or hunch over your desk while working.” Maintaining and practicing the right posture can help prevent back pain and injury. While sitting, keep your back in a “normal, slightly arched position and your head and shoulders erect.” If needed, adjust your chair so your elbows are relaxed, your hands are resting comfortably on a table or desk, your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet are flat on the floor.

2. Create an ergonomic workspace. “Your work environment can have a big impact on your comfort and musculoskeletal health. Instead of forcing your body to fit your workspace, set up your workspace to fit your body.” Make sure your computer screen is at eye level so you don’t need to lean forward. Invest in ergonomic office equipment that’s designed for back support and proper posture. Consider using an exercise ball (or Swiss ball) as a desk chair to help your core and protect your back.

3. Give yourself a break. Take a few minutes every hour to stand up and slowly stretch. “Carefully place your hands on your lower back and gently arch backward. Take a walk to the break room, another room in your remote workplace or take a lap around the office. You can even try some simple desk exercises like neck stretches and shoulder rolls. A break not only protects your back but can also refresh your mind so you can return to your work with sharp focus.”

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Online tool designed to identify ‘the right places’ to use workplace exoskeletons

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN — A free online tool developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University is intended to help employers assess how and where exoskeletons could help reduce work-related back injuries “without the need for costly and time-consuming experiments.”

Exoskeletons are used in a variety of industries to relieve physical strain and overexertion, which accounts for 38.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, a university press release states, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Exo-LiFFT is an interactive calculator designed to help employers who are “looking for ways to overcome workforces struggling with musculoskeletal injuries, missed work and accelerated retirement amongst skilled laborers.”

The tool was developed in collaboration with industrial engineers from Auburn University and an ergonomist from a supplier of workforce wearables. The researchers, from Vanderbilt’s Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology, project that exoskeleton use in material handling has the potential to reduce back injuries up to 60%.

The free tool is available in three versions: an online calculator for either single or multitask assessment or as a downloadable Excel worksheet.

“If we can identify the right places to deploy exoskeletons, then they can reduce injury risks as well as bodily discomfort, which impacts workers on the job and at home,” Karl Zelik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, said in the release. “Exoskeletons may also help improve worker recruitment and retention, which have been costly pain points for employers amidst the labor shortage.”

Further details of the tool were explored in a study published online Nov. 2 in the journal Applied Ergonomics.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Manual Material Handling and Back Injuries

Lifting objects or manually handling materials puts workers at risk for back injuries. More than 111,000 such injuries requiring days away from work were recorded in 2017, according to “Injury Facts,” an online database created by the National Safety Council. What can employers and workers do to prevent them?    Continue Reading»



Image: Rich Legg/iStockphoto