Posted tagged ‘back pain’

Back Pain is NOT a Normal Condition!

June 27, 2017

back-painI recently read an article that claimed that back pain is a normal human condition!  Although it is true that 80% of the US population will suffer from back pain in their lives, it does not mean it is a “normal human condition”.

It would be like saying illiteracy in the 1800’s was a “normal human condition”.  Granted it was “normal” to be uneducated at the time, but to brand that condition a “normal human condition” would have been a major mischaracterization as in 2003 in many parts of the world the literacy rate was over 90% (99% in the US). (Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2016) – ‘Literacy’. Published online at Retrieved from: [Online Resource])

Is it then possible to theorize that one can educate oneself on how to prevent back pain from ever occurring in the first place?  Is our society  functionally illiterate regarding the spine, one of the most important parts of our bodies?

Back Basics

25 years ago FIT was established to prevent back and shoulder injuries (and since then, office ergonomic injuries too).  Our first discovery was that most back injuries are caused by what we call CMT (cumulative micro trauma).  CMT is an accumulation of tiny physical transgressions on our bodies that over time add up to fatigue, discomfort, pain and if continued, injury.

Secondly, we discovered shockingly, that as a culture we are virtually 100% illiterate as to the structure and practical function of our spines.  This lack of understanding leads to a life of accumulating unnecessary CMT!

80% of the US population will experience back pain.  A back injury can, in a brief moment, change one’s life or cause one to be on potentially addictive pain medication.  Yet despite this horrific “natural human condition” no one has educated us (properly!) on how to perform normal activities of daily living in a way that would prevent CMT and its painful manifestations.


How many cylinders do you have in your car?  4, 6 or 8?  70% of you or so will know that answer.  How many bones (vertebrae) make up your spine?  I will wait while you google this, because, like me years ago, I had NO IDEA!  Why are there curves in your spine?  How many curves?  We know more about our darn cars and trucks than we do our backs and we can replace our vehicles!  Don’t feel bad, virtually 100% of us are functionally illiterate relating to our back and how to use it properly.

The spine is an engineering feat!  You have to really work hard to “earn” a back injury.  You have 24 bones:  7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (hump in your mid back); and 5 lumbar (base of spine)…and 3 curves.

After “practically educating” over one million employees about the very simple laws of lifting and living in a world with a 24/7 gravitational force, we can 100% pronounce that when people become educated why and on how to lift, bend, work, care for their children, mow the lawn, shovel snow, do laundry, work on a computer, in other words “live life”, injuries plummet.

We trained 20,000 flight attendants for an airline on how to do their work and life duties and how to properly stretch away CMT, and back and neck injuries dropped 63%!


171092762-300x200Our Backsafe® on-site workshops experientially educate workers on how to NOT become a victim of back and shoulder pain.  One of our Backsafe laws to prevent CMT is never reach for or with a load.  Holding a box, baby, or bundle close to you significantly reduces “intradiscal” pressure on your spine.  A 10 pound object held 10” away from you becomes a virtual weight of 100 pounds on your spine.

Do this exercise:  Stand up.  Hold your arms out in front of you for a few seconds or until you feel a little fatigue.  This is 12% of your body weight.  Now relax your arms to a normal position and feel the relief.  The relief you feel is your body thanking you for keeping your arms close to your body.

Now make believe you have a box or laundry basket in your hands and you want to set it down on a desk or table.  Move close to the table whereby you can set the “load” down without reaching.  How pathetically simple!  Yet, extremely beneficial to know and apply to your life.

FIT wants to increase employees’ physical literacy as pertains to musculoskeletal well-being.  The beautiful part about our process is no matter an organization’s morale, employees are eager to know how to relieve pain and discomfort and willingly buy-in to change their behaviors on and off the job.

Email or call us at (800) 775.2225 and schedule an interview to learn how we can help your employees and help your company to prevent painful injuries and to save money in 2017.


Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc. 



I’m So Tired of Standing!

December 21, 2016

line12During this busy season, it’s impossible to avoid standing still for long periods of time…


Consider waiting in line at the post office…

Standing in the kitchen creating confectionary delights…

Wrapping gifts for hours on end…

Standing ovations at your children/grandchildren/student/neighbor concerts…

Placing decorations thoughtfully…

I’m certain you could add to this list from your own traditions as well.

Despite the joy and happiness the season brings, standing still for long periods of time is a form of Repetitive Stress and can contribute to low back pain and fatigue.

Hamstrings can tighten, which can also lead to back pain.

Here are some useful tips to keep you feeling great this holiday season:

  • It is no accident that bars install standing foot rails to keep their patrons comfortable.  Raising one foot can relieve stress and prevent fatigue.  Open a cabinet door and use the cupboard as a footrest while doing dishes or even brushing your teeth.hamstring-stretch-revised-11-20-13
  • Shift your feet from a normal width when standing to a wider stance from time to time, particularly if you are working on a lower surface.
  • Alternate staggering your feet.
  • Do a back extension stretch and a hamstring stretch from time to time, especially when standing on tile or other hard surfaces.

These are a small part of our Backsafe® Injury Prevention program  which many companies find so very helpful for preventing sprain/strain injuries for their employees.

Here’s to a healthy, peaceful and happy holiday season to you and those you love.

Summer Time and Correct Lifting

July 6, 2010

It is summertime, a time when outdoor activity increases significantly.  It is the season for barbeques, beaches, yard work, golf and perhaps just settling in a lawn chaise to read a good book.

None of these activities are pleasurable when you have a painful back!  Do you know that most back injuries are caused by physical stress that innocently accumulates over time?   That’s right!  Chances are you were never taught how to do typical daily activities like getting in and out of a car; lifting a cooler into and out of a trunk; lifting kids or laundry; or how to shovel dirt in your garden.  80% of us will have a back incident in our lives due to improper usage of our bodies!  The good news is this means that life altering back pain is preventable

The first thing to know is that you can have control over whether or not you will ever have a back injury by simply learning more about what our backs like and don’t like.  Preventing the little daily innocent stresses that add up to eventually cause you pain is key.  

Here is a suggestion that you can work on.  Do NOT “hinge” at the waist when lifting.  Your lower back does not like when you bend over to lift something.  It can cause significant and continuous pressure on your lumbar spine and disks.  Your “lumbar curve” should be maintained as much as possible when lifting, thus the adage: “use your legs” when lifting.  By planning ahead you can frequently avoid lifting from the ground.  Before loading the cooler, place the empty cooler on a table or raised surface–anything that will help you to avoid bending.  When re-potting plants, don’t do it on the ground, have a table or bench or something that helps you to maintain an upright position.  

Do this simple exercise to help you break the habit of bending over when lifting.  In order for you to recognize the perilous behavior, stand up and bend slightly at the waist.  Remember, this is an at-risk motion so bend minimally so that you can experience the feeling of what you should NOT be doing!  Good!  Now that you know how this feels, you will be more aware when you lift incorrectly so that you can catch yourself and do it more safely. 

Next, place your feet shoulder width apart for good balance and elevate up and down without bending at the waist.  This is the optimum lifting stance.  My guess is that you just realized that you bend at the waist a lot!  This is a main reason why countless lives are ruined by back injuries. 

Use your legs to raise and lower your body, not your back.  Each time you do this you will be strengthening and toning your leg muscles versus weakening and hurting your back. 

Thinking ahead a little and using correct lifting techniques can become a life long habit.  If you need more information or help, we’d be happy to assist!  Good luck!

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