If you have a job that involves regular lifting of heavy items, then you're surely aware of the strain that this places on your back. Many people in your positions suffer from ongoing back pain, and some even develop career-ending injuries. But this does not have to happen to you! Here are four ways to keep your back in the best shape possible when you lift for a living.
1. Practice Proper Lifting Techniques
The proper way to lift anything heavy is to keep your feet wide for plenty of support, bend at the knees, and lift using your hips and knees, rather than your back. You should keep your back straight throughout the lift, focusing on keeping your shoulders back. Even if you know this lifting protocol, there's a good chance you don't always follow it to a "t," especially at the end of the day when you're tired. However, it only takes one bad lift to cause a serious back injury, so start paying closer attention. Ask coworkers to remind you to check your posture if they see you lifting improperly. Perhaps they'd like you to do the same for them!
2. See the Chiropractor
Many people view seeing the chiropractor as something to be done once they already have back pain. But in fact, chiropractic care can be a preventative measure, too. By having your back adjusted regularly, you ensure there's no excess strain on any one muscle or region. This helps prevent injuries. In most cases, seeing the chiropractor once a month should be sufficient if you do not have any ongoing pain or injuries. If you do develop any soreness, be sure to tell your chiropractor about it. They can adjust your back to ease tension on that area and keep the soreness from progressing into a more serious ailment.
3. Wear Good Shoes
When you're lifting all day, the shoes you wear make a huge difference on the amount of strain that's put on your back. Shoes with poor support may make it harder to stabilize yourself when you lift, forcing you to use the muscles in your back more than is ideal. They may also put your hips in an awkward position, which increases the strain on your back during lifting.
To find the shoes best for you, visit a shoe store that specializes in work footwear. Try on a few different brands and styles to find something comfortable for you. Ask one of the associates to measure your feet to ensure you buy the right size. Many people buy shoes that are too large or too small, and this affects the way they support your legs and back.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
When you hear your office worker friends talking about jogging and going to the gym, don't feel guilty if you don't feel like joining in. Unlike in a sedentary job, you get plenty of exercise during the day. If your body is telling you to kick back and rest in the evening, listen to it. The muscles in your back -- and throughout your body -- need the rest time to recover from the strain you placed on them when lifting boxes. If you don't give them adequate rest, you may find yourself dealing with a strain or torn muscle later on.
This is not to say you cannot exercise outside of work. If you feel up to jogging or working out, go right ahead. Just don't feel like you need to. The media hype about how little exercise everyone gets probably does not apply to you and others in active labor jobs!
Follow the tips above, and you'll reduce your chances of a back injury or back pain when your job involves lifting. For more information, check out sites like yourfloridachiropractor.com.