Protecting Your Back


Learning how to protect your back can help prevent injury and back pain. There are six leading causes of back injury: trauma, poor posture, poor physical condition, improper body mechanics, lifting awkward objects, and assuming awkward positions.

How can I lift objects safely?

Start by planning your lift mentally before you do it physically. Test the object’s weight before lifting it. If you need to carry it for a distance, check to make sure that you have a clear path. If it’s too heavy, ask for help from someone else.

When you begin to lift:

  • Bend your knees, not your back.
  • Support your back by maintaining core strength in your abdominal muscles.
  • Keep the object close to your body, and maintain good balance by keeping your feet apart at shoulder width.
  • Don’t twist, bend, or move too quickly.
  • As you begin to lift, remember to breathe and move carefully.

What else can I do to protect my back?

  • Remember: exercise is the best way to prevent back pain and injury. It’s also the key to recovering from any simple strains, aches, and pains you might experience.
  • Change positions frequently to avoid long, awkward postures.
  • Take time to think about your work tasks. Is there a better, safer way of doing things with less risk?
  • Warm up and stretch before heavy physical exercise.
  • If you do get back pain, maintain normal activity as much as possible. Avoid bed rest.