Don’t Break Your Back on the Job!

by Photo Life

CC Public Domain (Health: Your Posture/by Centron Corporation/Published 1953/Usage Public Domain/Topics Health and hygiene/Prelinger Archives)

Most people encounter back pain at some point in their life. It’s easy to inadvertantly make a wrong move and regret it. I once threw my back out by putting lotion on my legs. Yep, lotion.

As a photographer, you likely spend some time lugging around heavy gear. We wanted to help all of us avoid the unnecessary pain that could result from inattention and using heavy equipement. So we talked with an expert, Dr. Christopher Singh, who gave us some advice on what we can do to help prevent an injury and how to deal with any back pain that occurs. Dr. Singh covers posture, exercises and stretches, and caring for injuries in his article, “Health Tips for Photographers: Don’t Break Your Back on the Job” in the October/November issue of Photo Life.

There are a lot of good tips in the article, but my favourite is his 10-10-10 rule. When you have a back injury, he suggests this course of action: ice on for 10 minutes, ice off for 10 minutes, and ice on again for 10 minutes. Repeat three times a day for three to four days. Since reading his article, I’ve already used this technique once—no, not after the lotion incident; this was a different time—and I’ve also explained and recommended it to others twice. Three times, if you count now.

I appreciated how Dr. Singh focuses a lot on posture in his article. That’s something I’ve been trying to work on for about two years now, and it’s so important but something most of us are never taught. I only discovered I had incorrect posture because I started taking ballet classes. My teachers kept correcting my posture—even when I was trying really hard and thought I was standing up straight! Little did I know, when I was standing in a position that felt perfectly straight to me, I was actually leaning slightly back. I also wasn’t activating my core/abdominal muscles either; I didn’t know I was supposed to! When my teachers repositioned me to stand with a correct posture, it felt so wrong, like I was leaning forward way too much! But as my ballet teachers (and Dr. Singh) have said, it takes a while to relearn how to stand with correct posture, but the effort is worth it.

Check out the video above for a short old-school film that used to be shown to school children to help teach them about proper posture! And if you have any ridiculous stories of how you injured your back, please share them in the comments! Can you top “lotion”? I’m curious to hear your stories…

In the October/November issue of Photo Life!

In the October/November issue of Photo Life!

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