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Back Supports and a Healthy Back

Part 2 of 3 

Wearing a back belt does not make you super strong, or allow you to lift anything heavier that you would normally be able to lift.  We have to use proper lifting techniques while wearing the belt.  Here are the five RULES OF LIFTING. 

(1)  Assess the object you are about to lift.  Be certain of how you intend to lift the object.  If the object is heavy, get someone to help you lift.  Think before you lift.  Not only do you have to consider the load you will carry, but you need to plan how you will carry the load.  Is the path you are going clear and passable?  Are there hazards that may cause you to trip or stumble.  All these factors need to be considered before you lift. 

(2)  Bend at your knees, not your waist.  Bend down with your knees and straddle the load you are about to lift.  Avoid bending at the waist and keep your back straight.   

(3)  Tuck your pelvis under and firm-up your stomach muscles just before you lift.  Tightening the stomach muscles helps support your back. 

(4)  Hug the object you are lifting close to your body.  Unnecessary and potentially dangerous amounts of stress and strain are placed on your back when objects are held away from your body.  If your elbows are more than two inches from your side when you squat to pick something up, than you should not make the lift.  Stop and get some help. 

(5) Lift with your leg muscles.  Once you have a firm grip on the object, slowly straighten your legs and FEEL the leg muscles doing the actual work of the lift. 

You do not need to have your back belt tight constantly while you are working.  Wear your belt loose when you are not lifting, then when you go to lift, tighten the belt down.  By wearing your belt loose when you are not lifting, you will allow your back muscles to be used normally without any restrictions. 

Lifting anything, no matter what the weight or size can cause you to hurt your back.  Using proper lifting techniques will help you to always lift safely.  Use your legs and not your back.

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