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and potentially cause further injury because your back hurts.

Slide 10.  Physical conditioning refers not only to your back muscles but also to your stomach and buttocks muscles.  Maintaining a mild regimen of exercise will go a long way toward keeping your back strong, maintaining your flexibility, and preventing strain and sprain injuries. Flexibility is also important.  A healthy back allows you to bend, turn, and twist.  Make sure your back exercise program also emphasizes limberness.

Excess weight, particularly potbellies, can greatly contribute to poor back posture and back pain.  Weight adds stress to the components of the back. An exercise program to reduce or maintain your weight will also help prevent back pain.

Slide 11. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  Your doctor may suggest other types of exercise for keeping your back and stomach muscles in shape.  Follow your doctor’s directions.

The exercises mentioned here are used to help prevent back injuries by improving your conditioning and flexibility while helping you reduce or maintain your weight. If you have a back injury already, some of the exercises might be inappropriate because they could cause further injury, depending on your situation.  Again, consult your doctor or physical therapist (if appropriate).

Walking 30 minutes a day will help strengthen muscles and maintain weight. A daily regimen of stretching exercises will help improve flexibility and keep your back conditioned.  Stretches might include bending backwards or sideways, rotating your hips, or even twisting from side to side.

Sit-ups will help strengthen your stomach muscles, which provide a great deal of support for your back. Leg lifts, both when standing or when laying on the ground, will strengthen your buttocks muscles. Squats not only strengthen your back, stomach, and buttocks, they also help you practice proper lifting techniques.

Slide 12. Another great way to prevent back injuries is to avoid manually lifting and carrying objects. Use lifting equipment instead. Powered equipment is used by many companies.  Remember, do not operate any type of powered equipment (particularly forklifts) unless you’re trained and authorized.

When using manual equipment such as hand trucks, carts, pallet jacks, etc., make sure you choose the right equipment for the job.  Push the equipment rather than pull it because your back is stronger pushing than it is when pulling.

Cranes and hoists are very useful material handling tools.  Make sure you are trained before using this equipment.  You also need to ensure that the lifting devices (rope, chain, straps, etc.) are rated for the weight of the load you intend to lift.

Conveyors are very useful for moving material. Do not ride on a conveyor or climb over or under it.  

Slide 13. Are there any questions on how our backs can be injured and how we can prevent those injuries? Let’s discuss lifting techniques.

Slide 14. A lifting plan does not need to be a formal written process.  It just means thinking about the lift before actually picking up the item and carrying it.  Evaluate the load.  How much does it weigh?  Pick up a corner.  Can it be lifted and carried by one person?  What about the shape and size of the item—is it bulky?  Even a light object can be difficult to lift if it is bulky or oddly shaped.  Sometimes you may not be able to get a good grip on the object.  Maybe you can’t see around or over the object when you pick it up.  These are times that you should consider getting help.

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