Lifting and Your Back Preventing Back Injury Back Injury According to the National Center for Health Statistics, low back pain: • Is the most common work-related medical problem in the U.S. • Is the second most common reason for doctor visits among U.S. citizens • Affects more than 20 million Americans • Is the leading cause of disability among people ages 19-45 Risk Factors Many factors increase the risk for back problems: 1) Lifestyle choices - tobacco use, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition substantially contribute to poor disc health 2) Aging - natural biochemical changes cause discs to gradually dry out affecting disc strength and resiliency 3) Poor posture – long-term use of incorrect body mechanics stresses the lumbar spine and affects its normal ability to carry the bulk of the body's weight 4) Poor work habits and improper lifting! Rules for Lifting • Never bend, lift, and twist at the same time • Use mechanical aids or assistance when possible • Bend your knees and use your legs to lift Proper Lifting Plan the Lift • Before lifting, analyze what needs to be done • Think about how heavy the object is – How far does it have to be moved? – Where it is going to end up? • Consider the shape of the object – Is it cumbersome? – Is it easily manipulated? – Is it a two-person job? • Look at the path – Is there anything in the way that needs to be moved? Proper Lifting Position Your Body • Stand directly in front of the load - Feet about shoulder width apart - One foot in front of the other for balance • Bend your knees • Tighten the stomach muscles • Using both hands, grasp the object firmly • Pull it as close to your body as possible Proper Lifting Push Up with your Legs • Remember to lift primarily with your legs, not with your back – Since leg muscles are stronger than back muscles, push up with your legs, until straightened – Avoid jerky movements – Keep the natural curve in the spine – Don't bend at the waist – To turn, move the feet around by pivoting on the toes – Don’t twist at the stomach Proper Lifting Partner Up • If the load is too heavy, don’t try to lift it alone! - Find someone who can help - If possible, break the load into smaller, more manageable loads Proper Lifting • When it is time to set the load down, reverse the procedure – If the load is going to set on the floor, bend the knees and position the load in front of you – If the load is to go at table height, set it down and keep in contact with the load until it is secure on the table. Final Thoughts • Think before you lift • Use common sense • Avoid risky behavior – – – – Excessive Bending Excessive Twisting Excessive Reaching Excessive Weights • Gently point out unsafe behaviors to others • Help others perform safe lifts Thank you for your cooperation!