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Back Supports and a Healthy Back  (Part 1 of 3) 

We need to learn how these supports work,  and how to use them.  Let's take a look at our backs, back support belts and how they can help us protect our backs. 

Your back is made up of several parts, your spinal cord, bones, muscles and nerve endings.  The back supports your head and upper body.....but no more.  Backs are VERY fragile.  That is something that we all need to understand and be constantly reminded of.  A human back is not meant to lift with.  That is fact.  Your back supports your head and your upper body and that's it.  Why do we lift with our backs then?  Probably because we have never been educated as to how the back works and how we should work with our backs.  The main point.  There is no one who has a strong back.   

How do we lift and not use our backs?  Squat.  It is that simple.  We need to relearn how to lift by squatting.  No more bending over.  Laborer, Mechanics, Form Setters, Supervisors, all of us have to learn to squat.  If you find yourself lifting while bending over, or see someone lifting and they are bent over, stop them.  Explain that they are standing on the edge of an injury that will stay with them the rest of their lives.  We have to work together to lift safely.  If you have something that is too heavy for you to lift, say something that weights more than 50 pounds, get some help.  You are a human being, not a crane or loader.  We are a team, and lifting requires team work.  Even if something is light, but it is also large and bulky, get some help.  You may be able to lift something, but keeping control of what you lift is also important.  If you fall or drop something while carrying it, you may also injure your back. 

How can a back support belt help you?  The back support belt is not a cure all or a device that makes you super strong.  Back belts cannot help you lift any more than what you could without the belt.  The main purpose of the back belt is to support your lower back, add stability and encourage correct posture so that your back receives greater protection and less fatigue.  When used properly, a back support belt helps to maintain the correct curves of the spine by applying light pressure to the lower back.  The shoulder straps also assist in adjusting the belt to the curve of the back. 

We will continue to look at lifting and the use of back belts for the next few weeks.  Begin using your back properly.  Treat your back with care and respect.  Remind yourself each day that your back needs special care and attention, every time you lift. 

Your Physical condition has a lot to do with keeping your back healthy.  Have you done any warm up exercises before you started work today?  If not, take a minute and try some stretching exercises to get your body prepared to work.

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