Do Back Belts Prevent Injury

Do Back Belts Prevent Injury?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) almost 20 percent of all injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace are back injuries. To help reduce the amount of workplace back injuries, NIOSH recommends that companies implement ergonomics programs that focus on reducing hazards of lifting in both the work environment and work tasks.

One of the methods that companies are using to reduce lifting hazards is by recommending employees use industrial back belts. However, it's important to realize that back belts, even when used properly, do not totally and completely eliminate back injuries. Read on to find out more about back belts and preventing injuries.

Supposed Benefits of Back Belts

Back Belts manufacturers, some people who wear them, and even some doctors claim that back belts can do the following:

  • Reduce the amount of injuries in the workplace
  • Remind the user to lift with good form
  • Restrict motion to force the wearer to use proper form
  • Reduce harmful forces on the spine
  • Increase abdominal forces on the spine which counters potentially harmful forces
  • Stiffens the spine

NIOSH and Scientific Studies on Back Belts

Due to the increased use of back belts, NIOSH researchers turned to the scientific community to help determine if any scientific studies supported the use of back belts to reduce injuries. After reviewing the scientific studies, or lack thereof, on back belts, NIOSH concluded that there is not conclusive enough evidence to support, or refute, that back belts prevent injuries.

Why are the Studies on Back Belts Inconclusive?

Long story short, back belts haven't been used long enough in the workplace and as a result, there have been few published studies regarding the rate of injuries for people using back belts vs. people not using back belts.

Could the Use of Back Belts Actually Increase the Amount of Injuries?

Similar to there being inconclusive evidence that back belts reduce injuries, there's inconclusive evidence that they cause more injuries. There are however speculations that back belts can give workers a false sense of security and in turn, they lift objects they shouldn't be lifting.

How Should Companies View the Use of Back Belts?

Just like an individual shouldn't consider back belts the end-all-be-all of back safety, neither should companies. Instead, companies should focus on implementing a total and comprehensive ergonomics program. The program should aim to focus on both the work environment, specific tasks, identify hazards, implement worker training, and promote safe work practices.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

Top 10 Tips for Spine Care

Top 10 Tips for Spine Care

Neck, back, and spine problems have become a major health problem for a large portion of Americans. Almost eighty percent of Americans deal with lower back pain during their lifetime. Additionally, about forty percent of Americans that are over forty years old are suffering from degenerative disc disease.

Spine care can not only help to prevent future spinal problems, but it can also usually help with your current neck or back problems. Read on for 10 tips on spinal care.

1 - Shed that Excess Weight

We know, easier said than done. But staying at a healthy weight is perhaps the most important tip for spinal care. The less weight you place on your back, the less stress on it there is, and the less of a chance you'll injure your spine. In general, if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

2 - Be Active

A large percentage of Americans have jobs where they sit most of the day, either in their office, a vehicle, or in front of a screen. Being active helps to counteract the negative effects of extended sitting. Getting regular exercise, even if it's as simple as walking, is important for spine health. However, it can also be very beneficial to incorporate strength training and regular vigorous exercise.

3 - Use Proper Form and Safety Equipment When Exercising

Now that you know how important strength training and vigorous exercise, it's also important to know that exercising, when done incorrectly, can do more harm than good for your spine. When exercising, be sure to use proper form. It's better for you to lift less weight with proper form, than it is to lift more weight with improper form.

4 - Drive Safely

Sometimes car accidents are inevitable, and unfortunately they can often cause damage to our necks or back. One of the best ways to prevent an accident from causing lifelong spinal problems for you is to simply wear your seatbelt. Other important tips to remember is to be an alert driver, stay at or under the speed limit, and don't let things like your phone or the radio take away your attention from the road.

5 - Keep Your Core Strong

Your core muscles, including your abs, obliques, and pecs are important in stabilizing your spine and providing support for the activities that you do. Exercises including yoga, pilates, planks, and various body weight exercises will help to strengthen your core.

6 - Proper Diet

Vitamins, especially vitamin D, and calcium are important for your body's ability to prevent osteoporosis. A balanced diet including vegetables, fruits, and various proteins along with multivitamins, sunlight, and dairy products are all potential sources for these nutrients. You should also try to limit the amount of processed food and drinks with high amounts of sugar.

7 - Avoid Sitting for Extended Periods of Time

When people sit for long periods of time they tend to slouch, cross their legs, or cross their ankles, all of which are detrimental to the health of you neck and back. Try to take regular breaks if you sit a lot during work, at least every hour, to stand up, stretch, and even walk around.

8 - Cut Out the Tobacco Products

It may seem unrelated to spine issues, but smoking is actually linked with chronic back pain. Smoking causes a condition known as spondylosis, which can damage and pinch the spine, causing chronic pain.

9 - Stress Management

Being stressed tends to cause people's backs to tense up and their muscles don't want to relax. Stress can also weaken your immune system, cause insomnia issues, and lead to unhealthy eating. Find ways to manage, balance, and relieve your stress. Common stress management techniques include exercise, reading, therapy, and stretching.

10 - Don't Ignore Chronic Pain

Last but not least, don't ignore chronic pain. Pain is your body trying to tell you that something is wrong. If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain, visit your doctor to begin your diagnosis and treatment as ignoring chronic pain can often cause it to get worse.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

How to Improve Your Posture at Work

How to Improve Your Posture at Work

A majority of Americans spend long periods of time sitting down while at work. Having an improper posture day after day can put those people at risk of chronic back pain, disorders, or future injuries. Read on to learn more about improving your posture at work.

Sitting Disease

The term sitting disease is a relatively new term. It refers to sitting for extended periods of time with little movement and poor posture, which results in multiple long term medical conditions, with chronic back pain being the most common. Even with a healthy level of exercise before or after work, the long periods of sitting can still cause health issues. Sitting disease is most often caused by the following:

  • Long periods without movement which can restrict blood flow to the spine.
  • Workstation or desk setup that causes neck strain, typically a result of monitors that aren't at eye level.
  • Crossing your legs or ankles for long periods which can cause misalignment of the hips.
  • Slouching over with a rounded back, putting additional stress on your back.

Improving Work Ergonomics to Reduce Neck and Back Pain

Work ergonomics refers to fitting your job to your body and what it needs. For office work, this usually entails adjusting your workstation, desk, computer, chair, and your working habits to better fit your body. Improving work ergonomics generally focuses on keeping your body in a neutral position, not slouching over, and not leaning back too far. Some general tips to improve your work ergonomics include:

  • Rest with your feet flat on the ground and limit the amount of time with your feet or ankles crossed.
  • Keep your back against the back of your chair.
  • Make use of the lumbar support on your chair to help prevent slouching.
  • Adjust your computer monitors so that they're at eye level, making sure that you're not always looking down or up on them, which can strain the neck.

Take Breaks

Even with an improved work ergonomics, it is still important to take breaks, stretch, move around, stretch your legs, and promote blood flow. Research has revealed that taking a break about every half hour can significantly reduce the potential for health risks associated with prolonged sitting.

Listen to What Your Body Tells You

Awareness is another key factor in preventing chronic neck and back problems. If your body starts to become sore or stiff, analyze your work ergonomics. Maybe something needs adjusted, or maybe you just need more breaks. Try adjusting and see if the soreness or stiffness improves. If you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, schedule an appointment with your spine specialist to diagnose and recommend treatment to improve your neck and back.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

Pros and Cons of Back Support Belts

Pros and Cons of Back Support Belts

Almost 50 percent of people in the United States experience lower back pain every year, leading lower back pain to be one of the most common reasons that Americans visit their health care providers. Between the ages of 25 and 45 is the most common age bracket when people claim to experience lower back pain. Not only do people spend money treating their back pain, but it can also result in lost wages due to missing work and decreased productivity.

One method of treating back pain is using a back support belt. A back support belt is a type of belt that is worn around the lower back area in order to support the lumbar portion of the spine. Back support belts aim to reduce excessive forces on the spine, help to stiffen the spine, and increase abdominal pressure. But do they really help or is it all just a myth? Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of back support belt.

Pros of Using Back Support Belts

  • Providing Back Support. People who wear back support belts claim that during periods of lower back pain, their back support belt provides extra support when switching between lying down, sitting, and standing.
  • Limits Movement. If you've had a back injury, too much movement can limit your body's ability to heal. Back support belts, similar to a neck brace, limit movement and range of motion so that your body has a chance to heal properly.
  • Reduces Pain. Some back support belts have heating elements, and some have massaging capabilities. Both heat and massaging back support belts can help to relieve back pain.
  • Improves Posture. Back support belt users claim that when wearing their back support belt that they can more easily maintain a better posture with a straighter back instead of slouching over with a rounder back.

Cons of Using Back Support Belts

  • The Research is Inconclusive. Research has NOT conclusively shown that back support belts are helpful in dealing with existing back pain or in preventing future injuries from happening.
  • Skin Irritation. If your back support belt isn't fitting properly they can cause lesions, skin irritation, or rashes where they rub on your skin.
  • False Sense of Safety. While back support belts can improve your posture and reduce pain, they don't eliminate the possibility of future injuries. You shouldn't lift more than you can safely handle simply because you're using a back support belt.

Back support belts can be helpful in certain circumstances, but they are not an end all be all to all lower back problems. Consult with your spine specialist to diagnose your back pain and for recommendations on proper treatment.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

An epiduroscopy, also called a spinal endoscopy, is used to diagnose and treat spinal nerve pain.


What is Epiduroscopy?

An epiduroscopy, also called spinal endoscopy, is a procedure performed to treat spinal nerve pain such as sciatica and adhesions. In this procedure, a tiny fiber-optic camera is inserted into the epidural space through the sacral bone.

Who needs Epiduroscopy?

The procedure is utilized in relieving pain that arises due to adhesions that form following spinal surgery. It is also used in managing long standing sciatica. Epiduroscopy is also used for diagnostic purposes, as it can help your doctor determine the cause, location, and severity of scar tissue or adhesions.

What are the steps in Epiduroscopy?

Preparing for the Procedure

In order to perform the procedure, the patient is asked to lie on their stomach so that access can be obtained to the lower back. After cleaning the skin with antiseptic solution, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected into it to numb it.

Inserting the Needle

Under the guidance of x-rays, a needle is inserted into the sacral hiatus, which is a small opening in the bottom of the sacrum. The needle is passed all the way into the spine.

Inserting the Guide Wire

A small guide wire is then inserted through the needle, and the needle is pulled back out over the guide wire. A series of dilators are then passed over this guide wire in order to create a large enough opening to pass the epiduroscope through.

Inserting the Camera

A small catheter with a fiber-optic camera at the tip of it is passed through this opening into the epidural space. This helps visualize exactly where the catheter is being passed to. Sometimes additional imaging is also utilized to ensure the right location is reached with the catheter.

Administering the Injection

Once the catheter is in place, it is gently maneuvered to break down the adhesions. Then, an injection of local anesthetic and steroids is given. This can numb the nerves that are in this area and help reduce pain.

After Surgery

Following the procedure, the patient is observed for a short period of time and is discharged home after that. This procedure may effectively help reduce pain due to adhesions and sciatica. This is because the structures that are affected can be directly visualized, and treatment can be a lot more targeted.

Complications are fairly rare and can include mild bleeding at the site of the procedure. Patients may feel slightly uncomfortable and may experience mild pain following the procedure but this usually passes after a short period of time.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

These injections can help relieve pain and confirm a diagnosis

Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location

What are Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Pain is a common symptom of nerve irritation. In many cases, tests are required to confirm which nerve is causing the pain. In this article, we shall take a look at diagnostic injections as a tool used by your doctor for diagnosing and confirming the location of pain.

Diagnostic injections are injections that are utilized for making a diagnosis and sometimes even helping as a treatment. The fluid injected usually consists of a local anesthetic or a steroid injection that is used to aid in isolating the nerve that is causing the pain.

Who needs Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Diagnostic injections to confirm the source of pain are usually performed when there is nerve involvement and pain due to a problem with the vertebral column. If you have osteoarthritis that is affecting the facet joints of the vertebra, your doctor may use this procedure.

What are the steps in Diagnostic Injections to Confirm Pain Location?

Locating the Affected Joint

The likely bone is identified through clinical examination and x-rays. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the diagnostic injection is performed.

Numbing the Nerve

Once the likely facet joint is identified, a small amount of local anesthetic with or without the steroid is injected into the joint to numb the nerve. If blocking the nerve results in a reduction of pain, then the joint that is causing the pain can be isolated and treatment can be offered that is directed towards that joint.

After Surgery

The main advantages of diagnostic injections are that it helps identify which of the joints are affected and which nerves need to be treated. By itself, a diagnostic injection is a treatment method.

The risks are minimal and can include just mild pain and swelling in the site of injection. If the joint identified is the wrong one, further injections may be required to isolate the nerve.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.