Archive for the ‘back injuries’ tag
Every season brings unique activities that require us to perform some physical activity we may not want to do but have no choice. As I look outside right now it is snowing here on the eastside and that usually means a bit of shoveling that will need to be done. This seasonal activity is a, “I have to..” activity of daily living (ADLs), rather than ADLs we want to do. Therefore, let’s talk about shoveling snow since that time of year is upon some of us, though hopefully on its way out! Of course, if snow is not an issue based on where you live, this information can also be applied to gardening, digging a hole or some other yard related shoveling activity.
First, a few facts that help us appreciate why back pain is so common when we shovel:
1. When we bend over, approximately 2/3rds of our body weight is being lifted in addition to what we’re lifting. Hence, a 180# person has to lift 120# of body weight every time he or she bends over.
2. A 5# weight equals 50# to our back when it is held out in front of us – consider the 10-20# weight on the end of a shovel!
3) Our legs are much stronger than our back and arms. If a person can bench press 300#, they can usually leg press 500# – almost 2x more weight. Yet, most of us use our arms, not our legs, when shoveling.
4) Most of us bend over using poor technique, lift the shovel with the arms and back (not the legs), and rapidly extend and twist the back when we throw the substance from the shovel – 3 bad things!
5. To make it all worse we do the same things over and over and over again, with bodies that are not in proper shape to be doing the activity in the first place. So, what do you do about it?
One way to prevent injuries, especially to the low back is to avoid the activities that injure it in the first place. For those of us who can’t hire the neighborhood kid to shovel the driveway here are some basic tips. The first fact is, we can’t change the fact that 2/3rds of our body weight is above our waist. What we can change right now is just how much you load up that shovel with snow or dirt. Secondly, always bend down using your strong leg muscles, not your back. This reduces the strain that is put on the back while lifting. Take multiple breaks and switch sides so you don’t “beat up” the same muscle groups repeatedly.
If you do hurt your back – using an analogy of a cut on your skin -avoid picking at the cut so it can heal. If your back starts to hurt after shoveling, take a break, rest, ice, and then do some gentle stretches- DO NOT go back out and start shoveling again! Some wise considerations for shoveling include warming up before starting, staying “in shape” by regular exercise throughout the year, maintaining a good nutritional diet and getting enough sleep.
Probably one of the greatest mysteries of the medical world could be the rampant occurrence of back injuries at work. It really is such a widespread case that doctors encountering it do not always have the right diagnosis for.
Everyone may givea different sort of analysis and possibly attribute the back pain to muscle strain, disc slips, bone misalignment, or psychological stress. Back injuries have grown so prevalent that employers have started to take special attention to it. No less than 25% of workers need health care to handle back injuries. Inflation or no inflation, the costs involved in the epidemic are as high as it can be. In 2001, around $50 million was incurred by employers within the U.S. to compensate for that direct outlays of employees’ back injuries. This has turned into a serious issue therefore, which has not yet been resolved.
There are two known kinds of costs in terms of workplace back injuries. Direct costs have to do with actual costs incurred to treat a back injury. That could consist of medical bills and health care provisions necessary to tend to employees’ back problems. More serious cases even require surgery which would obviously cost so much more. However, the direct costs only constitute half of the entire story. Indirect costs of these injuries actually surpass the direct costs by a great deal as it becomes the foremost reason why employers are quickly formulating and implementing policies and programs to cope with the problem. These costs consist of productivity loss, increased absences and tardiness, overtime, replacement and training of new workers, overhead costs, and stuff like that. Reasonably, one cannot perform as proficiently when she or he is in a lot of pain. Workers lose their maximum capacity when experiencing such injuries. When productivity comes to a halt, unfortunately the prices do not. Both these costs in return, are becoming huge burdens to employers’ backs, as we say, because they absorb most if not all of it and it consequently hurts company revenues.
Just like any other disease or injury, prevention is definitely the key to somehow alleviate this epidemic. Poor workplace conditions evidently result in not simply back injuries but all kinds of other maladies , too. Keeping the work area neat and safe may help in decreasing medical incidents. Assuming the type of the job itself entails back-stressing and back-endangering activities, it might probably be a good idea to implement ergonomic policies like wearing the right protective gear (e.g. back braces and girdles). Poor physical health can also be a factor to one’s being prone to injury.
Regular medical check-ups should be observed to keep up the staff’s physical fitness and well-being. Promoting a healthy and active lifestyle at work like sponsoring Sports fests and so on can also help employees obtain their essential exercise. Furthermore, discouraging physical malpractices for example smoking and drinking too much alcohol prevents numerous other tribulations. These simple prevention schemes will save the company lots of moneybut also even help save lives.