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Spring Cleaning is BACK

PROHealth
5/1/2010

Spring Cleaning is BACK


 
The days are longer, the sun shines brighter, flowers are starting to bloom, and there is energy in the air.  This could only mean one thing: Winter is over and Spring is finally here!  While the winter months hold something different for all of us, the emergence of Spring means the same thing for all, Spring Cleaning.  There is something about this change of season that holds us hostage to our homes for a weekend so that we can clean from top to bottom, organizing and clearing out the clutter in our closets, basements, and garages.  This "cleansing" can be nothing short of exhilarating.  However, we must be careful to avoid injuries, especially back injuries which can result from improper technique when lifting and carrying.  ProEx would like to offer these helpful tips for avoiding back injuries while spring cleaning.


It’s all about the technique

- First and foremost, you should wear proper footwear with slip-proof properties
- Bend your knees and squat down to pick up and lower items
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart or place one foot behind and one foot to the side of the object to be lifted
- Remember to lift and lower with your legs, not your back
- Brace your back by holding your stomach tight (as if someone was to punch you in the belly and you were to try to lessen the impact)
- Maintain a straight back posture
- Carry object close to your body
- Use caution to prevent smashing your fingers or toes when placing item down
- Put the item down first, then slide into place
- Avoid reaching or stretching for item when lifting or lowering

 

Get a grip on it

- Get as much surface area of your hands on the item to be lifted. A strong grip lessens chance of dropping or putting undo stress on your lower back

 

Don’t get carried away

- Arms should be close to your body when carrying items, and items should remain close to your body
- A slight bend to your arms can help take some of the force off of your spine
- Move as a whole unit, especially when changing directions
- Watch where you are going, and look out for hazards and obstacles when walking
- Take extreme care when walking up and down stairs

 

Better safe than sorry

- Know your personal limits with the amount you are able to lift
- If items are too large or heavy, try to space out into smaller loads

 

When to ask for help

- Utilize a partner when lifting if the item is too heavy or awkward
- Coordinate lift to synchronize both of your movements to avoid injury

 

Hello Dolly

- When necessary, use equipment to assist in your lifting and carrying of items such as a dolly or handcart

 

Just Breathe

- Maintain regular breathing
- Do not hold your breath when lifting and carrying items

 

There’s always tomorrow

- Pacing yourself is the most important thing. If you begin to fatigue or start to feel some soreness then call it a day
- Plan out heavy work over a couple of days. For most of us, there is plenty of other light work to do around the house

 

Typical Injuries

Back sprains and strains are the most common injuries seen when improper form is used during lifting and carrying. Symptoms may include pain, spasm, stiffness, or nerve symptoms (numbness, tingling, shooting leg pain “sciatica”). The first course of action is rest. If symptoms persist longer than a few days or get progressively worse then seek medical attention.

 

Physical Therapy is a good first choice!

Did you know that Physical Therapy is one of the most widely accepted and effective treatment options when someone is suffering back pain. Go to  www.proexpt.com/content.php for a study on low back pain.  Whether managing your acute pain early on or progressing to strengthening exercises while learning proper body mechanics, your local orthopedic physical therapy clinic can be a huge help in getting you on the road to recovery. At ProEx, we specialize in treatment of the spine so feel free to contact us if you ever need assistance. Go to ProEX Spine 

We help you get your life back!
 

Spring Cleaning is BACK

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