OVEREXERTION

We know you're tough, but overexerting yourself and ending up in the emergency room doesn't help your tough-guy (or tough-girl) image. Lifting 10 pounds doesn't sound like much, but do it wrong and you could be putting more than 1,100 pounds of pressure on your lower back!

Overexertion injuries typically result in strains or sprains to the muscles, tendons or ligaments. Lifting heavy loads or lifting incorrectly are examples of overexertion, but there are others. Ergonomics - the design of a workplace to help people work more efficiently and safely - plays an important factor. How you sit and how you move can cause fatigue and/or impact musculoskeletal health. Big word, but think "muscle and skeleton," and you'll get the idea. Even using the wrong tool or poorly-maintained tools can hurt by requiring you to use awkward motions or more force than necessary.

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DID YOU KNOW?


Overexertions are typically the second leading cause of injuries in adults.

80 percent of adults are impacted by lower back pain at some point in their lives.

Leading causes of back injuries include:

  • Attempting to move an object that's too heavy;
  • Excessive, prolonged or repetitive twisting, reaching or bending.
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THINK

Take time to assess your task and think about what might make the job easier.

GET SOME HELP

Pushing, pulling or lifting requires a lot of exertion. Grab a friend or use mechanical assistance to move heavy loads.

PUSH IT

Push instead of pull when possible.

WHEEL IT

Friction makes a hard job harder. Ask if there is something to help reduce that like a dolly or hand cart.

USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

Yes this is a top-10 "Dad-ism," but using the right (and properly maintained) tool can make the job easier and prevent overexertion. And put it back when you're done because, well, that's what Dad would tell you to do.

MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE

It's not just for fancy dinners: Whether you're lifting boxes into the attic, typing at work or just carrying that adorable baby around, good posture can help reduce stress on your body.

  • Don't over-reach - Position yourself squarely in front of what you're moving or working on.
  • Think about how to minimize the need for bending, reaching or twisting.
  • Never lift with your arms extended.
  • Keep your back straight, knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart and lift with your legs, not your back.

TAKE A BREAK

Your muscles need time to recover after moving heavy loads, or even doing repetitive motions. Make your job safer by taking frequent short breaks and by doing some stretching.

KEEP YOUR COOL

Temperature extremes can impact overexertion injuries. Working in a hot environment can lead to heat stress fatigue or cardiovascular strain. Working in a cold environment can result in reduced blood flow and muscle tension, which makes muscles more susceptible to strains. Dress appropriately and take frequent breaks someplace where the temperature is closer to normal.

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