I heard a report that there are more and more back injuries in the workplace. It seems like everything is automated now. Shouldn't there be fewer back problems?

Activities at work and home seem under better control today. Automation and robots have reduced our lifting load. There are many programs to prevent injury. The focus is on lifting properly and avoiding repetitive tasks.

Studies show muscle weakness isn't the problem leading to back injury or reinjury. It's really more likely there's a problem with the pattern of muscle firing.

A study in Canada showed that patients with chronic low back pain reach a peak muscle contraction sooner than those without pain. Researchers think early episodes of pain cause anticipatory postural responses. The patient knows the pain is coming so the muscles contract sooner than needed.

Specific exercises to get normal motor control back may help prevent a repeat bout of back pain.