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The Most Susceptible Workers
Construction workers are susceptible to extra stressors on their backs, joints, nerves and muscles. A study by the American Chiropractic Association showed that 70 percent of construction workers experienced low back pain over a 1 year period. And a study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health indicated that back pain in construction workers can often lead to depression and mental distress.
Chronic lower back pain in construction workers is a serious matter. What are the most common causes of back pain construction workers experience? What are some ways to prevent and alleviate back pain and the distress?
Causes of Back Pain in Construction Workers
According to the ELCOSH (Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Health and Safety and Health), most injuries in construction workers are the result of sprains and strains of the muscles and injuries to the joints, bones and nerves. A construction worker’s back is especially at risk because of:
- sudden movement
- lifting of heavy objects
- bending while lifting
- lifting with forceful movement
- repetitive lifting of awkwardly shaped items
- reaching and lifting
- twisting and lifting simultaneously (torque), especially from digging and shoveling
- whole body vibration from the use of heavy equipment, or from driving lift trucks, etc.
With any chronic back pain it is vital to see your doctor to obtain a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. Once approved by your doctor, there are tips for lifting and stretching that could be helpful.
Be particularly cautious when digging, doing repetitive movement on one side, driving lift trucks and loading vehicles. Place heavy items close to tailgate or doors and use truck loaders and bins when possible. Break items into smaller quantities before lifting. Tighten stomach muscles and use the legs when lifting. Minimize the distance between your body and the item you are lifting. If you wear a tool belt, make sure that the weight is evenly distributed. Get help lifting. Be aware that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recommends that no item heavier than 51 pounds should be lifted by one person. Construction workers regularly lift more. But being aware of the recommendation may help workers be less concerned about asking for help lifting a heavier object.
Get limber before you work
Some work sites are doing pre-work warm ups to increase circulation and decrease chances of injury. Suggest it at your site. A site in Tacoma has a required warm up program based on best ergonomics for construction workers. There are also specialyoga workouts geared towards construction workers, one called Yoga With Your Boots On.
Back support belts are often helpful in preventing or reducing back pain. Finding ways to de-stress and relax emotionally also contributes to a healthier back. Relaxo Bak has several products which could be helpful in relieving back pain in construction workers. Contact us to learn more.
Please note: RelaxoBak does not treat, mitigate, or diagnose any form of disease or back injury. Anything in this article is not to be construed as medical advice. You must receive diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. However, the article is meant to complement what your doctor has advised.