Jun 06

Proper Body Mechanics

by Jess

Lift with your knees, not your back! are words of wisdom that have followed me throughout life. Growing up as the daughter of an auctioneer, I spent many summer days packing and lifting heavy boxes. My father always stressed the importance of asking for help if something weighed too much and I was told over and over - "Take care of your back."

Years later as a nursing student, proper body mechanics and lifting techniques were among the first lessons taught. During job orientations special attention was always focused on this important area. I would like to pass along some important tips I have learned on how to protect your back from injury.

  • Think about it! Before lifting assess the situation. Often, just taking a minute to move something the right way is the difference between success and injury.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back! Start low to the ground and bend the knees when lifting, keeping the back straight. Because leg muscles are stronger this alleviates undo pressure to the back.
  • Move your entire body! Start with the object directly in front of you and keep your knees and elbows in line when moving an object from side to side. Turning the upper and lower half of the body together helps avoid twisting motion that leads to a pulled back muscle.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart! Keep your eyes looking ahead and maintain good posture during lifting. This will help center your body correctly and relieve stress on your back.
  • Avoid jerking movements! Hold the object close to your body and lift smoothly with your knees.
  • Use proper equipment! If an item is too heavy, seek help. This may be in the form of a person or mechanical aid, such as a Hoyer lift or skid loader. Don't let pride stand in the way of asking for assistance. This will help you avoid injuring yourself and others.
  • Report injuries immediately and seek prompt medical attention! Proper medical care increases the chance of a better recovery.

Even though these techniques are simple, they may help you avoid injury and live the rest of your life with a healthy back.

Just J & B:

Bob

Bob is a managed care coordinator who in 1984 started as a compliance analyst for credit and mortgage insurance. Later he shifted to major medical. This staff member has spent countless hours reviewing claims, medical policy and has a lot to say about both.

Jess

Jess is a nurse case manager dedicated to patient advocacy after receiving her RN license in 1998. This long time staff member provides her unique perspective based on thousands of conversations held with patients and providers.

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