Body Mechanics. The Back You Save Could Be Your Own. Harriette Flavio, LCSW, Operations Manager. Diane Adams, Volunteer Services Coordinator

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2 Body Mechanics The Back You Save Could Be Your Own Harriette Flavio, LCSW, Operations Manager Diane Adams, Volunteer Services Coordinator

3 Back Safety Your back is the main supporting structure of your entire body, and along with your muscles and joints, allows you to move and bear weight. The back is also a finely balanced structure that can be easily injured if we don t care for it properly. Safe lifting techniques keep your back in balance and can protect you and your back from accidental strain and overload. Safe lifting is one of the most important skills you ll ever learn!

4 Posture Counts! Head up Shoulders back Chest out Stomach and buttocks tucked in Back straight

5 The Balanced Spine

6 Where is our strength? Legs are stronger than our backs Widen foot stance Squat from hips Tighten your stomach abs The abs attach to spine Approach as being punched Tighten the abs hold your breathe and you protect your back

7 Look Carefully Feet apart Back straight Arms close to body Squat from hips The legs will lift

8 See The Difference?

9 Tips on Lifting 1. Plan the move. Check for tripping hazards. 2. Assess the object (weight, sharp edges, etc.) You ll need to be able to get a good grip. Use gloves if necessary. 3. Visualize the lift Can I lift it by myself? Can I hold it close to my body? If the answer is NO do not use the other tips. Do not lift! Ask for help with heavy objects. 4. Position yourself in front of the load. 5. Tuck your pelvis By tightening your stomach muscles, you can tuck your pelvis to keep your back s three curves in balance. Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles; strong abdominals prevent back injuries.

10 More Tips on Lifting! 6. Assume a wide stance with firm footing. 7. Bend your Knees Bend your knees instead of your waist. Let the large muscles in your legs support your back and carry the weight. 8. Hug the Load Try to hold the object you are lifting as close to your body as possible, as you gradually straighten your legs to a standing position. Lift steadily, do not jerk. 9. Avoid twisting Twisting while lifting or carrying increases the load on your spine and can lead to serious injury. To avoid twisting, be sure that your knees and torso are

11 Use equipment to lift Use a cart for heavy items when appropriate

12 Office Ergonomics Building strength and flexibility while you sit will help you take care of your back Your chair Move your seat as close to your work as possible to keep from bending forward Use a chair with back support and adjustable height An easy alternative would be to place a pillow (or rolled up towel at the back of your seat to support your low back) Adjust your chair so your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest Your chair should provide firm lower back support; your thighs should be parallel to the floor

13 Office Ergonomics, cont d Computer keyboard and monitor Adjust keyboard height so your forearms are parallel with the floor Place keyboard so wrists are straight, elbows are at right angles, and arms rest at sides. Use padded wrist rests when typing Angle your work (or computer screen) to look straight ahead rather than downward Your monitor should be 18 to 20 inches from your eyes Place computer screen at arm s length, with the top just below eye level (no more than 10 degrees) Align your chair, keyboard and monitor so you are sitting and looking straight ahead while you work Take occasional mini breaks and stretch during the day Keep your phone within easy reach

14 Exercise to Relieve Tension These exercises can be done while you sit and only take a few minutes: Let your head roll forward. Slowly rotate your head without straining your neck. Repeat 5 times. Rotate the opposite direction. Sit with your feet flat on the floor. With your hands on chair or desk for support, slowly raise your thighs a few inches above your chair seat. Repeat 5 times. Clasp your hands behind your head and push your elbows back. Release the tension, then repeat 5 times. Slowly lean forward until your upper body is resting on your lap. Hold for 10 seconds. Place your hands on your knees. Sit back up. Repeat 5 times. Adjust your position, stretching and changing your pace of work regularly throughout the day.

15 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one type of CTD caused by repetitive or forceful motions which can irritate, inflame, and swell the tendons in the wrist. Symptoms may include: Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand (especially in fingertips at night) Weakened grip (dropping objects) Reduced range of motion in the arm or hand. Swelling in the arm, fingers, etc. Change in skin color (for example, finger turning white when exposed to cold or vibration) Weak or painful hand, arm, wrist, neck, shoulder or back muscles.

16 Preventing CTDs: Change the pace at which you work Take breaks or switch tasks that use different motions Try alternative ways to perform tasks Change work positions or postures often Avoid clothes, gloves, or jewelry that fit tightly at the wrist

17 Safety and You The use of good body mechanics is critical to saving your back and preventing injury. Take the time to evaluate each situation before you attempt to lift any object AND don t be afraid to ask for help! Using proper exercises and ergonomics can prevent further complications down the road, including carpal tunnel syndrome.

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