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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Back safety for school employees

When a cafeteria worker serves food, when a janitor mops floors, and when a teacher writes on a chalk board they are performing repetitive motions that can cause back injury.

Every year, more than a million people suffer back injuries and school employees are among the most susceptible.

Damaging discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles in the back can be avoided by keeping the back in a neutral position, with a relaxed spine. To ease stress from repetitive motion, stop and reverse the direction frequently and take frequent breaks to stretch out your back.

Back injuries are frequently caused by improper lifting. Avoid lifting heavy loads, use a cart if necessary and move as close as you can to the load to stay balanced.

Exercising can also help you avoid back injury. Arm and leg raises, cat curls and knee to chest maneuvers provide strength and flexibility training that benefits your back.