Many farmers and ranchers report some type of back pain, ranging from occasional to severe, but there are things that can be done to help prevent and manage back pain.
Back problems are wide-spread among ag producers because they regularly life heavy loads; operate machinery that vibrates the whole body; are constantly bending, stooping and reaching; often doing repetitive tasks; and tripping or falling, which accounts for nearly half the injuries on farms and ranches.
Producers are urged to do what they can to prevent and manage back pain. Tips include:
- Use proper posture and body mechanics during everyday activities to alleviate pain.
- If standing for long periods of time, use a relaxed posture — keeping head and trunk upright.
- Move closer to the work area to reduce the need to lean forward.
- Use anti-fatigue insoles or matting in shops.
- Vary body position often to keep repetition to a minimum.
- Limit standing time or walking on uneven ground.
- Look for ergonomically-designed tractor seats to reduce the stress on your back.
- Avoid jumping from vehicles.
- Use wide-angle mirrors and swivel seats to allow for monitoring without twisting and turning.
- When possible, use a mechanical aid for lifting heavy items.
- Learn proper lifting techniques for items you lift yourself.
- Find alternatives for manually lifting above shoulder height.
- Get help to lift heavy objects by hand.
Source: www.nebraska.tv; Jordan Onwiler; June 10, 2014.