Protect Your Lower Back


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This presentation helps to put the potential for back injury into a slightly different perspective.

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  • Healthy backs are not perfectly straight. When your posture is good, there are four curves to the spinal column.
  • The neck and shoulders help to support the cervical spine. The thoracic spine is supported by the rib cage. The lumbar spine is made up of the five largest vertebrae, supported and stabilized by back and abdominal muscles…muscles in your legs and buttocks also stabilize and protect your lower back, especially during repeated or heavy lifting. The vertebrae also work to protect our spinal cord from injury.
  • This slide just gives you an idea of how the nerves from our spine correspond to different areas of the body.
  • Sprains/strains usually resolve in a maximum 6-8 weeks. DDD – we all have some degree of degeneration/arthritis Compression fractures are especially dangerous and can lead to a lifetime of pain. HNP – the disc is protruding and can be pushing against one of the nerve roots, which can cause pain in other parts of the body.
  • This is a description of approximately how much stress is placed on our lower back in these positions.
  • On the next slide we will take a look at the math.
  • Don’t forget we are working with a ratio of 10:1
  • Demonstrations – frozen marshmallows, stick/chair, toddler demo, wet/dry sponge.
  • Protect Your Lower Back

    1. 1. Protect Your Back You only have one spine Greg Hendricks, R.N., District Occupational Health Supervisor
    2. 2. What are we going to cover? <ul><li>Physiology of the spine </li></ul><ul><li>Types of back injuries </li></ul><ul><li>Factors that increase the risk of back injury </li></ul><ul><li>The stress on our back </li></ul><ul><li>How force relates to back injuries </li></ul><ul><li>How can we prevent these injuries </li></ul>
    3. 3. Physiology of the Spine <ul><li>Flexible column of bones – vertebrae </li></ul><ul><li>33 vertebrae – cervical (7), thoracic (12), lumbar (5), sacral (5), and coccygeal (4) </li></ul><ul><li>There are many nerves that branch out from our spine to the body </li></ul><ul><li>Between each vertebrae is a soft cushion, called a disc </li></ul>
    4. 4. Thoracic Cervical Lumbar Sacral Distribution of the Spinal Nerves
    5. 5. Types of Back Injuries <ul><li>Sprain/strains of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine </li></ul><ul><li>DDD – degenerative disc disease </li></ul><ul><li>Intervertebral disc bulge </li></ul><ul><li>Fractured vertebrae </li></ul><ul><li>HNP – herniated nucleus pulposus </li></ul>
    6. 6. Factors that Increase the Risk of Back Injuries <ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Physical condition </li></ul><ul><li>Posture </li></ul><ul><li>Body weight </li></ul><ul><li>Stress </li></ul><ul><li>Trying to lift too much </li></ul><ul><li>Using improper lifting techniques </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Stress on our Low Back <ul><li>Lying flat = 25lbs </li></ul><ul><li>Laying on your side = 75lbs </li></ul><ul><li>Standing = 100lbs </li></ul>Source: To Sciatica and Back: A Potter’s Journey, John P. Glick
    8. 8. How Force Relates to Back Injuries <ul><li>Anytime we bend or lean over to pick something up, we put a tremendous amount of pressure on the low back </li></ul><ul><li>You should think of your back as a lever and your waist as the fulcrum </li></ul><ul><li>Our waist is not in the center like the fulcrum of a teeter-totter </li></ul>
    9. 9. How Force Relates to Back Injuries <ul><li>The fulcrum of our waist operates on a 10:1 ratio </li></ul><ul><li>Lifting a 10lb object puts 100lbs of pressure on our lumbar spine </li></ul><ul><li>Average weight of human head=10lbs </li></ul><ul><li>Average weight of human torso=100lbs </li></ul><ul><li>A weight gain of 25lbs would add another 250lbs of pressure </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>Let’s do some math: </li></ul><ul><li>Head 10 X 10 = 100 </li></ul><ul><li>Torso 100 X 10 = 1000 </li></ul><ul><li>Object 10 X 10 = 100 </li></ul><ul><li> 1200 lbs of pressure on the lumbar spine as we are bending over to get an object </li></ul>How Force Relates to Back Injuries
    11. 11. How Force Relates to Back Injuries <ul><li>Let’s do a little more math: </li></ul><ul><li> Head 10 X 10 = 100 </li></ul><ul><li> Torso 100 X 10 = 1000 </li></ul><ul><li> Object 10 X 10 = 100 </li></ul><ul><li> Standing 1200/2 = 600 </li></ul><ul><li> 1800 pounds of pressure exerted just to stand back up again with the same object </li></ul>
    12. 12. How can we Prevent These Injuries? <ul><li>Promote proper Lifting and Lowering </li></ul><ul><li>Stretching </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrations </li></ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that packages >70lbs are properly marked </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let people keep making the same mistakes </li></ul>
    13. 13. Questions???? Sources: National Safety Council, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Gray’s Anatomy
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