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Lifting that annoying file folder box, the 5 gallon water cooler tank, or other DIY projects around the home can all be contributors to back pain that some of us might experiencing at the office. Unfortunately, sometimes the silliest things—lifting a box, unloading the dishwasher or picking a weed from your garden bed—can lead to days, weeks or even months of discomfort

Lessen your risk of back injury by following these quick tips.

Lifting. When lifting heavy objects (such as a a box full of file folders), make sure you use good body mechanics. Always bend at your knees rather than your waist, and never lean backwards when carrying heavy items.  If you’re reaching for things in high places, make sure you use a step stool or ladder to be completely level with the area you’re reaching so you do not reach and twist to get the hard spots. If you’re mopping or vacuuming floors, push or pull in small strokes to avoid leaning forward and overextending your back.

Cleaning or Maintenance. Take frequent breaks—don’t work for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time. Avoid standing and bending forward from the waist. If you need to be near the ground, protect your knees with a pad (such as BackJoy’s Kneeler). Make sure that while kneeling, you keep your back as straight as possible.

Do-it-Yourself Projects. Keep the objects you are working with and your work surfaces within arm’s reach. It’s always a great idea to enlist someone to hand you the tools you need so you are not over-reaching or twisting around to find them. Try to use tools with long handles to avoid bending and reaching towards your project all-together. Make sure your hips, shoulders and feet are facing the object you are working with.  

Sports. Golf, cycling and tennis are all some of the sports that pop up this time of year. While lower back pain can be caused by a variety of things, strained muscles is one of the number one common causes. Stretch and strengthen your back muscles before and after exercise to keep your muscles and ligaments flexible and make them less prone to painful strain.  Here are a few back stretches that may help.

At the end of the day or after any activity make sure you are properly stretching, massaging and releasing tight muscles. The Trigger Point Massager is an easy self-massage to release knots in muscles and using Roller Balls to massage muscles ensures tightness stays at a minimum.