Tag Archives: lifting

Baby Mechanics

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Proper lifting mechanics is important for everyone, especially for a new mom. Caring for a young child/infant significantly increases the strain to one’s low back. Luckily, there are steps that one can make to decrease that strain and reduce the risk of injury.

Always remember to: lift the child/infant close to you and bend through your legs versus your back.

As your baby begins to gain more independence and mobility, lower the height of his mattress to keep him safe. Be aware that the lower mattress height can increase strain on your back, so lower the mattress height as gradually as possible. When lifting your baby in or out of the crib, keep baby as close to your body as possible while keeping your back straight and bending through your legs. For older babies, help him get into a sitting position before lifting him out of the crib. Once baby can stand, lift him out of the crib from a standing position.

Just like lifting baby out of the crib, keep her as close to you as possible, bend through your legs and keep your back straight. Keep your abdominal muscles tight as you lift her up. If possible, get into a deep squat position to lower your center of gravity before picking up baby.

Avoid the “hip shift” position with baby propped on one hip while shifting your body to that side. Instead hold baby in front of you with his legs out on either side of you. If you are going to be holding baby for an extended period of time, use a baby carrier to keep your baby supported in a neutral alignment.

Tummy time isn’t just good for babies! During tummy time, get down on your stomach too. Stretching out on your stomach is good for you, and it also allows you to better interact with your baby.

During story time, be aware of your posture and always sit up straight. Place a pillow behind your back for extra support.

Use a nursing pillow under baby to help prop her up closer to you. Bring baby to you instead of leaning forward towards her to avoid strain. Placing a pillow behind your back can provide extra support and help you maintain the proper posture. If you are bottle feeding or for older babies, place a pillow under the arm that is supporting baby’s head to decrease the strain on your shoulder and neck. Although making eye contact with baby during a feeding can help strengthen your relationship with baby, it can cause strain on your neck. Be sure to bring your head to a neutral position throughout the feeding to decrease the tension on your neck.

baby car seat

When lifting a car seat, be sure to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible. Bend through your legs and keep your abdominal muscles tight as you pick up the car seat. Instead of carrying the car seat in one hand at your side, use both hands to hold and carry the car seat in front of you whenever possible.

Getting the car seat in and out of the car can be tricky. Remember to keep the car seat as close to your body as possible, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight. If your car seat is placed in the middle position in your car, put one leg up into the car to protect your back while keeping the car seat close to your body.

This information was written by Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations in the Chicago Loop and Lakeview areas. At Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, their number one priority is the patient. For more information click here.

lifting safety PTandMe holidays

When Lifting During the Holidays…

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During the holidays back injuries become more prevalent as patient maneuver themselves up and down ladders and stairways while carrying or lifting heavy objects. A little bit of lifting safety can go a long way to keeping the holidays merry. When Lifting large or heavy objects make sure you:

1. SIZE UP THE LOAD
Check to ensure the load is stable and balanced.

2. PLAN THE JOB
Consider all possibilities. Is the path clear? What is the weight of the load? How much stress will be placed on your back? Is there traffic, a tripping hazard, a doorway to go through, or a stairway to go up or down? Avoid carrying an object that requires two hands to hold, either up or especially down, a flight of stairs.

3. ESTABLISH A BASE OF SUPPORT
Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.

4. BEND YOUR KNEES, KEEP YOUR HEELS OFF OF THE FLOOR AND GET AS CLOSE TO THE OBJECT AS POSSIBLE.
Always lift with your legs and not your back.

santa

5. BE CERTAIN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A HOLD ON THE OBJECT WITHOUT HAVING TO ADJUST YOUR GRIP LATER.
You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can de-sensitize the fingers making you unable to feel the object.

6. LIFT GRADUALLY with your legs without using jerky motions.

7. KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE TO PREVENT ARCHING YOUR LOWER BACK.
As you begin the lift, tighten your stomach muscles and keep your head and shoulders up. The closer the load is to your spine, the less force will be placed on your back.

8. PIVOT
Don’t twist. Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

Information can be found at: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/pubs/videoresource/stpbkinj.pdf

Safe Lifting Practices

Safe Lifting Practices: Back Injury Prevention

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Whether you are getting ready for a move, or need to lift things at work, it’s important to use safe lifting practices. Don’t end up with a hurt back – use these tips to keep yourself injury free.

• ESTABLISH A BASE OF SUPPORT: Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure that you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.•

• KEEP YOUR EYES UP: Looking slightly upward will help you maintain a better position of the spine. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps you keep your back straight.

• GET A GOOD GRIP: with your palms and make sure you have an adequate hold on the object. Be certain you will be able to maintain a hold on the object without having to adjust your grip later. You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can desensitize the fingers and make you unable to feel the object.

• LIFT GRADUALLY WITH YOUR LEGS: without using jerky motions. By using your leg strength, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.

• TIGHTEN YOU STOMACH MUSCLES: as you begin the lift and keep you head and shoulders up.

• PIVOT  DON’T TWIST: Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

• WEIGHT: A lighter load normally means a lesser risk of injury. The weight of the object should be within the capacity of the person to handle safely.

• HANDLING: It is easier to pull or push a load than it is to lift, put down or carry.

• KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE: Holding a 20 lb. object with your hands 20 inches from the body creates more compressive force on your low back than holding it 10 inches away. This is because the muscles in your back have to work to counterbalance the weight when it is further from the body. As the compressive force on your low back increases, so does the risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains and damage to the disks in the spine.

• FREQUENCY: The more times a load is handled, the more tired the muscles become, making it easier for the person to be injured.

• DISTANCE: The farther the load has to be moved, the greater the risk of injury.

• DURATION TIME: Where the job involves repetitive movements, reducing the time spent on handling will help to ensure the movements are not causing unnecessary strain.

• FORCES APPLIED: Forces should be applied smoothly, evenly and close to the body. Forces exerted should be well within the capacity of the person, and the person should maintain proper posture.

• NATURE OF THE LOAD: Loads that are compact, stable, easy to grip, and capable of being held close to the body are much easier to handle.

• TERRAIN: Rough ground, steep slopes, slippery and uneven floors, stairs and cluttered floors make moving a load awkward and increase the chance for injury.

• ENVIRONMENT (CLIMATE & LIGHTING): If it is too hot, too humid, too cold or the lighting is inadequate, the capacity to work safely is reduced.

• CONDITION OF THE WORKPLACE: Safe and comfortable working conditions, with adequate space to perform the task, and tools and equipment that are well-maintained, make their job safer.

• AGE/GENDER: Young and old workers alike may be at an increased risk of injury from manual materials handling activities. Ensure abilities of employees are in line with functional job requirements.

• TRAINING: Proper training for the specific task is vital to reduce injury.

• TEAM LIFTING: If one person cannot lift or move a heavy, large or awkward object safely, organize a team lift. Team lifting reduces the risk of injury, reduces fatigue and makes the task much easier.

• RAISE/LOWER SHELVES: The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.

• AVOID LIFTING FROM THE FLOOR: Lifting from the floor can greatly increase your risk of injury for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to bring objects close to your body when picking them up from the floor, especially large objects where your knees can get in the way. Secondly, your low back must now support the weights of your upper body as you lean forward, in addition to supporting the weight of the item you are lifting. Lifting the same 20lbs from the floor more than doubles the amount of force on your low back when compared with lifting is from waist height. Even a one pound object lifted from the floor increases you risk of injury if you use a bent over posture.

• GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT: Don’t try to lift heavy or awkward loads on your own. Even though the muscles in your upper body may be strong enough to handle the load, the muscles, ligaments and disks in your lower back may be injured because of the additional forces they have to withstand. Get help from a co-worker, and whenever possible, use a cart, hand truck or other mechanical device to move the load for you.

PROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUE

proper lifting

IMPROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUE

improper lifting

POSTURE

Posture diagram

GOOD POSTURE

good posture

BAD POSTURE

bad posture

Backpack Safety

Backpack Safety 101

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It’s that time of the year again when the kids are heading back to school. Learn the proper guidelines and precautions about backpack safety in this week’s PTandMe blog post.

Size
• Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
• Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
• Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back

Fit
• Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
• Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
• Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

Weight Of Pack
• Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

backpack

Lifting Of Pack
• Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack
• Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
• Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center

Posture
• Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.