Now researchers say 'safe' lifting advice DOESN’T protect your back

For years we have been trying to bend at the knees, keep a straight back and squeeze those tummy muscles when picking up something heavy.

But maybe we should have saved ourselves the strain. Researchers claim there is no evidence that the techniques taught around the world to encourage safe lifting can prevent back injuries.

The findings from their study of more than 18,000 workers suggest that training courses for handling heavy items - which are often mandatory for employers and workers - could be a waste of time and money.

Researcher Jos Verbeek said: "It seems that what is currently accepted as best practice for heavy lifting does not prevent back pain."

Dr Verbeek and his colleagues at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki analysed 11 studies. Eight dealt with health workers who manually handled patients and the remainder looked at baggage handlers and postal workers. All those taking part had jobs where there was a strain on the back and training was recommended to avert possible injuries, according to the report published in the British Medical Journal Online First.

The researchers found no difference in back pain in studies where one group received training in lifting techniques and the other did not. The researchers conclude that either the recommended techniques do not actually work in reducing the risk of back injury, or workers don't change their habits sufficiently for them to make a difference.

In Britain it is estimated that four out of five adults will experience back pain during their life.

Source - Daily Mail

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