I have already written Posts that introduce the concept of risk factors, and how we can turn that thinking around when we try to cause health. Prevention is about managing risk factors. Period. Eliminating a risk factor doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get the condition, but it reduces the risk.
Of the list of risk factors for developing low back pain, some you can do something about, others you are stuck with. Look at this list and you will see example of both categories:
– a mentally stressful job,
– a sedentary lifestyle (if you sit all day at work, you have a sedentary lifestyle by definition),
– age (the older you are the more likely you will experience back pain – think aging work force),
– gender (women are more likely than men to get back pain)
– strenuous physical exercise,
– strenuous physical work
(Medical News Today, December 3, 2009).
To that last one on the list ergonomists would add heavy, awkward, and/or frequent lifting.
And that list is not a complete list: the #1 predictor of developing low back pain is a history of already having lower back pain (not much you can do about that!). And close behind that is weak lower back muscles (measurable and correctable!). Poor lifting technique is another recognized risk factor (and it’s a main reason that numbers 9 and 10 above are on the list; it’s also why heavy, awkward and frequent are on the list). Poor bending and lifting technique is even easier to measure and much simpler to correct.
It’s also on the list of Certainties. We are all going to be bending and lifting off and on all day no matter what else we are doing. Doing it poorly puts us at risk; doing it well strengthens and lessons out risk of injury.
How an employee bends and lifts IS the low hanging fruit in the battle to reduce job-related injury health costs – prevent pays. Right now back injuries are the #1 job-related injury, the most expensive job-related injury, and the most disabling job-related injury. Ouch!
It is something the employer (and the employee) DO have control over and can change.
It is easy to evaluate and measure (therefore monitor).
And it is easy to change.
The Back Injury Prevention Course does all of that… in less that 2 hours.