May 14, 2009

Back Care at Work

Posted in physiotherapy at 2:15 am by Edwin

Your back is involved in every job you do. Sitting. Standing. Walking. Lifting. Bending. Reaching. Running. Evey when you’re resting or sleeping, your back is on the job. It takes only a few minutes each day to take good care of your back. Remember these basics:
Keep your back and abdominal muscles strong. This lets them support the curves at your neck, middle back and lower back.
There’s a right way to stand, sit, lift, turn, walk and sleep. Learn it and live it!
Keep your weight low to reduce the strain on your back.
Learn how to cope with worry and stress.
Get professional help fast if your back hurts.

Cumulative Trauma

Using any motion once or twice may not cause problems. But when the same motion is used repeatedly for a long time, it can cause strain, discomfort, illness and disability and may require corrective surgery. These problems are called cumulative trauma, a condition that accumulates over time.
Make sure to use tools, machines or equipment in a way that won’t cause strain over time.
Search for ways to work that will accommodate your needs. Don’t try to force your work patterns to fit the job.

Safe Lifting

Safe Lifting is a challenge. Learning correct lifting techniques is vital to health and helps avoid the back pain that afflicts eight out of 10 Americans. Tips for safe lifting include:
Use common sense and take your time.
Wear the right personal protective equipment (ppe) for lifting and carrying. PPE may include the use of gloves, safety glasses, chemical specialty aprons, etc.(for moving hazardus chemicals) or mechanical equipment to assist with material handling.
Avoid bending, reaching and twisting.
Use the tilt test to estimate an object’s weight. (Tilt test: Get a good grasp on one of the object’s edges. Slowly try to tilt it up. If it’s difficult to move, it’s too heavy to lift by yourself. Get someone to help or use a lifting aid.)
Lift from the low risk position only.
Grasp the object securely.
Draw the object as close to you as possible.
Make sure your footing is secure.

Working with Computers

Working with a computer doesn’t have to be a strain. To make your work more pleasant and less stressful, stay on the lookout for warning signs that your working conditions aren’t right.
Eyestrain, Headaches: You may need new glasses or contacts. The computer screen is too bright or not bright enough, or not positioned correctly. Glare or reflections are distracting. The lettering on the screen isn’t crisp.
Sore Hands, Wrists, Arms, Shoulders: You aren’t sitting properly. Make sure you have arm and wrist support. Raise or lower the keyboard.
Sore Back: You’re slouching, or working in a chair that doesn’t give enough support. Try placing a rolled up towel in the small of your back to ease the strain.
Numbness in your Legs and Feet: The chair may be restricting blood circulation. Try using a footrest or a chair with a downward-curving front edge.

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