Back pain in the workplace. What you lift or how you lift matters far less than whether you lift or when

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1997 May 1;22(9):935-40. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199705010-00001.


In spite of more than 50 years of concerted effort to diminish task demand, the incidence of compensable back injuries has not wavered. Before we persist for another 50 years in the quest for the "right way to lift," we should consider recent multivariate clinical investigations that suggest alternative approaches. Because task context is at least as important as task content in this regard, it follows that including regional backache under the rubric of "compensable injury" demands reconsideration. Likewise, rather than pursuing the "right way to lift," the more reasonable and humane quest might be for workplaces that are comfortable when we are well and accommodating when we are ill.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lifting / adverse effects*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Workers' Compensation