By: Julie Wilson, PT
Everyday life can take a toll on the health of your back, and anyone who has had back pain knows it can stop you in your tracks. There are many simple tricks that can be done, if you know what they are, to PREVENT back pain and injuries.
Your posture in sitting and standing set the stage for back health. Core muscles need to be strong and your back needs to be in good alignment for best functioning. Everyday activities such as lifting, sitting, and standing done properly can decrease your chance of injury. The tips below should be memorized and incorporated into everything you do.
Caring for children with special needs creates an environment for additional lifting, carrying, and moving the child in the act of daily activities. By practicing the concepts of good body mechanics when lifting, sitting, standing, and walking the risk of encountering a back injury is minimized. Let’s start with talking about proper lifting.
The Golden Rules of Lifting
- Use a wide base of support. Feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other
- Squat to lift rather than bend at the waist
- Keep good posture
- Slowly lift with legs, not your back
- Do not twist as you lift or move
- Hold the load as close to your body as possible
- Take steps to change direction rather than pivoting
- Set down your load carefully
Keep in mind:
- Do not bend forward. Bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift.
- Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.
- Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object
PROPER SITTING TIPS:
- Avoid sitting in one position for more than an hour at a time.
- Knees should be slightly higher than hips, back and head erect.
- Make it a priority to do stretching exercises.
- For driving, pull your seat forward so that the pedals and steering wheel are within comfortable reach. Stop often to stretch and walk around.
- Have computer screen level with eyes or at a slant
PROPER STANDING OR WALKING TIPS
- Keep your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles in a line.
- Keep abdominal muscles tight and chest lifted
- Avoid locking knees while standing.
- Place one foot on a low stool if you must stand in one position for a long time. Alternate feet.
- Avoid high heels
Your back will thank you for practicing these tips!!