Your Spine • The human spine (or backbone) is made up of small bones called vertebrae. • The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other to form a column. Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc. The vertebrae are held together by ligaments; muscles are attached to the vertebrae by bands of tissue called tendons. • The lower part of the back holds most of the body’s weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this area can cause pain when a person stands, bends, or moves around. Less often, a problem with a disc can pinch or irritate a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain that runs down the leg below the knee, called sciatica. Every time you bend or move, these discs compress with the motion of the spine.
Types of Injuries • Every time you bend over, lift a heavy object, or sit leaning forward, you put stress on the components of your back and spine. Over time, they can start to wear out and become damaged. • Many of the problems that cause back pain are the result of injury and degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Degeneration is a process where wear and tear causes deterioration, like when your favorite jeans get old. The disc is subjected to different types of stress as we use our backs each day. • Eventually, discs can collapse or herniate; vertebrae can shift; bone spurs can develop. • Acute or immediate injuries to the back can be caused by tearing or straining ligaments and muscles. Muscles can also spasm due to stress or tension.
Trivia Which are generally recommended as the best sleeping positions? A. On your stomach or back (with legs level) B. On your side (w/ knees slightly bent) or back (w/ pillow under knees) If you’ve been waking up with a sore or painful back, you might try sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent, or on your back with a small pillow under your knees. If that doesn’t work, you might wish to try a new mattress, or put boards under your old mattress to firm it up. Of course, it is always wise to check with you physician about any sort of health problem. Which is better for back: Pushing a cart or Pulling a cart? It is better to push a cart, dolly lawnmower, wheelbarrow, etc. than it is to pull it. However, if you do have to pull it, consciously force yourself to tighten your stomach muscles and try to maintain good body posture.
The Forces Involved • The amount of force you place on your back in lifting may surprise you! • Think of your back as a lever. • With the fulcrum in the center, it only takes ten pounds of pressure to lift a ten pound object. 10 lbs 10 lbs
The Forces Involved • If you shift the fulcrum to one side, it takes much more force to lift the same object. • Your waist acts like the fulcrum in a lever system • Lifting a ten pound object puts 100 pounds of pressure on your lower back. 10 lbs 100 lbs
The Forces Involved • When you add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper torso, you see that lifting a tenpound object actually puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on the lower back. 10lbs____ 105lbs______ ____1,150lbs
The Forces Involved • If you were 25 pounds overweight, it would add an additional 250 pounds of pressure on your lower back every time you bend over. 1,400 lbs 130 lbs 10 lbs
Common Causes of Back Injuries • Anytime you find yourself doing one of these things, you should think: • DANGER! My back is at risk! • Try to avoid heavy lifting….especially repetitive lifting over a long period of time
Common Causes of back Injuries • Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load…this frequently happens when using a shovel.
Common Causes of Back Injuries • Reaching and lifting over your head, across a table, or out of the back of a truck
Common Causes of Back Injuries • Lifting or carrying objects with awkward or odd shapes
Common Causes of Back Injuries • Working in awkward, uncomfortable positions
Common Causes of Back Injuries • Sitting or standing too long in one position; sitting can be very hard on the lower back
Common Causes of Back Injuries • It is also possible to injure your back slipping on a wet floor or ice
How to Prevent Back Injuries • Avoid lifting and bending whenever you can • Place objects up off the floor • Raise/lower shelves • Use carts and dolleys • Use cranes, hoists, lift tables, and other lift-assist devices whenever you can • Test the weight of an object before lifting by picking up a corner • Get help if it’s too heavy for you to lift it alone
How to Prevent Back Injuries • Use proper lift procedures. Follow these steps when lifting: • Take a balanced stance, feet shoulder-width apart. • Squat down to lift, get as close as you can. • Get a secure grip on the load. • Lift gradually using your legs, keep load close to you, keep your back and neck straight.
How to Prevent Back Injuries • Once standing, change directions by pointing your feet and turn your whole body. Avoid twisting at your waist. • To put load down, use these guidelines in reverse.
Things You Can Do To Help Your Back • You can minimize problems with our back by exercises that tone the muscles in your back, hips and thighs. • Before beginning any exercise program, you should check with your doctor and follow his/her advice concerning any exercise program. With his/her approval you should: • Exercise regularly, every other day. • Warm up slowly; walking is a good way to warm up. • Inhale deeply before each repetition of an exercise and exhale when performing each repetition.
Exercises To Help Your Back • Wall slides to strengthen your muscles • Stand with your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. • Slide down into a crouch with knees bent to 90 degrees. • Count to 5 and slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 times. • There are different types of stretches to help loosen up your muscles
Exercises To Help Your Back • Leg raises to strengthen back and hip muscles • Exercise 1 • Lie on your stomach • Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise the leg from the floor; hold for a count of 10, and return leg to the floor. • Alternate with the other leg • Do this 5 times each • Exercise 2 • Lie on your back, arms at your sides. • Lift one leg off floor and hold for count of 10. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg. • You can also bend one knee with the foot on the floor while raising the other leg.
Exercises To Help Your Back • Leg raises while seated • Sit upright, legs straight and extended at an angle to the floor. • Lift one leg waist high. Slowly return to the leg to the floor. • Do the same with the other leg • Repeat 5 times with each leg. • You may sit in a chair while doing this exercise
Exercises To Help Your Back • Partial sit-ups to strengthen stomach muscles • Lie on back, knees bent and feet flat on floor. • Slowly raise head and shoulders off the floor and reach both hands toward your knees. • Count to 10 • Repeat 5 times • Back leg swing to strengthen hip and back muscles • Stand behind a chair, placing your hands on the chair • Lift one leg back and up, keeping the knee straight. • Return slowly. • Raise other leg and return • Repeat 5 times
Exercises To Decrease the Strain on Your Back • Exercise 1 • Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor • Raise knees toward chest. • Place hands under knees & pull knees to chest. • Do not raise head or straighten legs as you lower them • Start with 5 repetitions several times a day • Exercise 2 • Lie on your stomach, hands under shoulders, elbows bent and push up. • Raise top half of body as high as possible. • Keep hips and legs on the floor; hold for one or two seconds. • Repeat 10 time several times a day • Exercise 3 • Stand with feet apart • Place hands in the small of your back or above your head • Keeping knees straight, bend backwards at the waist or sideways as far as possible and hold for one or two seconds • Repeat as needed
Take care of Your Back • And it will take care of you! • Exercise daily • Avoid Heavy lifting • Get help with heavy or bulky objects • If you must bend over, do it properly • Avoid twisting at the waist when carrying objects • Always watch where you are going
Last But Not Least • Let’s test your knowledge • Print the quiz at the end of this presentation and answer the questions • Submit your quiz to Mary Tennison • You must pass the quiz or you will need to repeat the class
QUIZ—Safe Lifting Name: ____________________________________________ Date: ___________________ 1. Back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. ( ) True ( ) False 2. Once you have injured your back, you are very likely to re-injure it at some point in the future. ( ) True ( ) False 3. Which of the following might be considered a contributing factor for back injuries. ( ) Poor physical condition ( ) Stress ( ) Poor posture ( ) All of the above 4. Sitting in one position for long periods of time does not place any stress on the back. ( ) True ( ) False 5. Which are generally recommended as the best sleeping positions for your back. ( ) On your stomach or back (w/ legs level) ( ) On your side (w/ knees slightly bent) or (w/ pillow under knees)
QUIZ—Safe Lifting Name: ____________________________________________ Date: ___________________ 6. The “safe lifting zone” is ( ) Between the floor and your knees ( ) Above your head ( ) Between your shoulders and your waist ( ) At arm’s length from your body. 7. Rather than using your back like a crane, it is better to allow your legs to do the work by bending at the knees while lifting. ( ) True ( ) False 8. It is best to avoid twisting at the waist when carrying or lifting a heavy load. ( ) True ( ) False 9. When carrying an awkward load, you want the heaviest part of the load to be furthest from your body ( ) True ( ) False 10. Taking frequent, short (micro) breaks can be beneficial to your back, particularly when working in awkward positions. ( ) True ( ) False