At a “big box” store or airport, you’ve probably seen workers wearing corset-like back belts. Once worn only by weight lifters, these belts are supposed to protect the back when lifting something. With back problems accounting for nearly 20% of all workplace injuries and costing anywhere from $20 billion to $50 billion a year, it’s no surprise that some companies require their workers to use these belts.
But do they work? Several studies have cast some doubt on whether back belts (also called back supports or abdominal belts) help protect workers’ backs or reduce sick time and workers’ compensation claims. One report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that these belts didn’t curtail back injuries. In this two-year study, which included several thousand employees who handled merchandise, the use of back belts didn’t reduce either the incidence of low back pain or the number of back injury claims. Another study looked at two groups of people with work-related low back disorders: those in one group were asked to wear back belts and receive education on back health; those in the other group received the educational component only. There was no significant difference in the recovery of the two groups.
Although a few small studies have found back belts to be protective, the consensus is that they do not reduce back injuries. In fact, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has expressed concern that back belts may even cause back problems by giving workers a false sense of security. According to NIOSH, some workers think they can lift heavier items when wearing the belts.
NIOSH also points out that there is no scientific evidence to back up claims that these belts decrease the force exerted on the spine, that they remind wearers to lift properly, or that they reduce workplace injuries. As a result, the agency doesn’t recommend that employers insist their workers use back belts to prevent back injuries.
Follow these basic steps whenever you need to lift something:
- Face the object and position yourself close to it.
- Bend at your knees, not your waist, and squat down as far as you comfortably can.
- As you prepare to lift, tighten your stomach and keep your buttocks tucked in.
- Lift with your legs, not your back muscles.
- Don’t try to lift the object too high — don’t raise a heavy load higher than your waist; keep a light load below shoulder level.
- Keep the object close to you as you lift it.
- If you need to turn to set something down, don’t twist your upper body. Instead, turn your entire body, moving your shoulders, hips, and feet at the same time.
- Ask for help lifting anything that’s too heavy.
For more on ways to heal your aching back, check out Back Pain, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Below are spiritual recipe for health and wellness: Matthew E. McLaren
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19 NIV
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4 NIV
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 | NIV
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NIV
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NIV
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. Proverbs 10:8 NIV
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10 NIV
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