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Landmark study uncovers reasons behind recurring back injury

regain strength. But just as important as strength is learning to use back muscles appropriately.

"After a back injury, people need to re-learn how to use their muscles naturally. The timing of the muscles working together needs to return to normalcy," Marras said.

The study suggests that this new rehabilitation strategy, combined with weight loss and a redesign of the workplace, could reduce the possibility of repeat back injuries.

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration maintains strict guidelines for preventing healthy people from becoming injured, but not for preventing injured people from becoming injured again.

Marras said the guidelines for injured workers would have to be even more strict. "There are some motions, such as bending to lift far away from the body, or lifting something off the floor, that a normal person can do once in a while without serious harm. Those are the kinds of motions an injured person should never do at all," Marras said. "Bottom line -- you can send people back to work after a back injury, but you have to be very careful about what you have them do."

Recurring back injuries debilitate workers, and create massive health care costs. In Ohio, for example, 16 percent of people with back injuries account for 80 percent of the total health care costs for this injury. That's because the recurring i
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Contact: William Marras
Marras.1@osu.edu
614-292-6670
Ohio State University
1-Dec-2001


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