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Linton Harrison
Richmond Public Library

Flat on your back? Search the Internet for tips

If you have ever suffered from back pain of any kind, you will know two things about back injuries - first, they can be extremely difficult to heal, and secondly, they can re-occur much easier than the first time. Back injuries can occur at any time, especially on the job, but with summer bringing on more outdoor physical activity through sports and maintenance around the home, it is a good time to review the information available on the Internet about preventing and handling back injuries.

As a starting point, the Canadian Health Network ( lists 24 recommended websites dealing with both back pain and back injuries under their A-Z Index. One such site is Back Pain from the Calgary Health Region (, which gives a very brief introduction to common causes of back pain and definitions of basic related terms.

More detailed information, including the structure and mechanics of the back, the causes of injuries, the importance of good posture, proper exercise and techniques for bending, lifting and carrying, and injury recovery tips can be found at both the Workers Compensation Board of BC ( ) and the WCB of Alberta ( ).

The Merck Manual of Home Reference Medical Information also provides a detailed explanation of the various types, causes and symptoms of low back pain (, as well as a summary of the treatment options available for each type of injury.

More chronic back injuries, and their treatment, are covered by The Arthritis Society ( And for people suffering from acute back pain, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons has an online Patients Guide to Low Back Pain ( that details some of the different surgical options available, should they be required, and the technologies involved.

The prevention of back injuries is especially important for children of all ages, and one of the most common causes of back injuries amongst them is carrying overloaded backpacks. Both the CBC's Marketplace ( ) and the Hospital for Sick Children ( ) provide great advice on how to avoid backpack-related injuries, for both children and adults. It's never too late, or too early, to learn an ounce of prevention.

This column and its links can be accessed from the Internet version of the Richmond Review, found on the Richmond Public Library's website at

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