Day 31: Brick layers do it bent over


It’s hump day, bricklovers. Which seems entirely appropriate, given that’s exactly what these construction crews are facing if they don’t watch their backs (pun intended). 

As today’s video (see below) illustrates, crews are laying bricks in assembly-line fashion on the 400 block. But what struck Brick Watch the most while filming was that a few of these men, the ones actually placing the pavers in the sand, are awfully hunched over in the process. We wondered, if this project is going on for four months, what sort of long-term effects will that have on one’s core? Brick Watch called local chiropractor Brian McGaughran—who conducts a free class on this exact topic at his clinic, Charlottesville Family Chiropractic—to get some answers.

The position these construction workers are standing in, McGaughran says, is increasing the load on the back of the spinal disc. Over time, this sort of strain can lead to sciatica. McGaughran says to prevent this, crew members should make sure the bend comes from the knees and hips instead of the lower back. "They should keep the chest up and the tailbone up," he says. If they do that, "it’s impossible to flex the lower back."