Proper lifting techniques for your back

Preventing back injuries can be a major challenge for some employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overexertion was the nation’s leading event or exposure leading to an injury or illness in the workplace, accounting for 34% of all workplace injuries or illnesses. BLS also showed that the back was the leading body part affected, making up 18.2% of total cases. Although no approach has completely eliminated back injuries, incorporating an effective control program along with an analysis and design of work tasks could minimize a substantial portion.

How to Lift Safely

Before lifting, take a moment to think about what you are about to do. Examine the object for sharp corners, slippery spots or other potential hazards. Know your limit and do not try to exceed it. Ask for help if needed, or if possible, divide the load to make it lighter. Know where you are going to set the item down and make sure the destination and your paths are free of obstructions.

Follow these steps:

1. Stand close to the load with your feet spread shoulder width apart. One foot should be slightly in front of the other for balance.

2. Squat down, bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your back as vertical as possible.

3. Get a firm grasp of the object before beginning the lift.

4. Slowly begin straightening your legs, lifting slowly. Never twist your body during this step.

5. Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. If the load’s center of gravity moves away from your body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the lumbar region of the back.

If you must turn while carrying the load, turn using your feet, not your torso. To place the object below the level of your waist, follow the same procedures in reverse order. Remember to keep your back as vertical as possible, and bend at the knees. To evaluate someone’s lifting habits, consider the following variables: frequency of lifting, duration of such activities and type of lifting, as well as the worker’s state of health, body size, age, and general physical fitness.

The 3 Biggest Myths About Chiropractic Treatment

As is the case with many “alternative medicines,” there is a ton of misinformation out there about chiropractic treatment. In order to help you sift through some of this, we’ve compiled a short list of the biggest misconceptions about chiropractic care. Here are the three biggest myths:

It’s Expensive

Fact is, when tasked with choosing between a major surgery and chiropractic care, the most cost-effective method is usually chiropractic. Surgery is expensive on its own but as you add health care programs and strong opiate medications to the mix, the bill can add up to astronomical numbers. Patients often find that going to a chiropractor a few times a year can fix problems that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to fix. Also, there are preventive programs to help rid yourself of back, spine, and neck problems before risky, major surgeries are required.

 

It’s Dangerous

The risks associated with chiropractic care are very slim. Subjecting yourself to spinal treatment can sound frightening and letting someone manipulate the tissues in your neck can sound just as scary. However, the fact is, chiropractic is very safe and an important, viable option before taking strong drugs that can lead to dependency. Spinal manipulation is often encouraged by doctors as a means of treating problems before surgery is required. Practitioners go through demanding training and education and are well-versed in methods that are both effective and safe. You can rest assured, you’re in good hands.

 

It’s Painful

Chiropractic is often described as painless by adults and children alike. In fact, many patients describe treatment as a similar sensation as receiving a deep tissue massage. Some patients with severe neck or back pain may feel discomfort but as time goes on, their trips to a chiropractor become more relaxing. Sessions usually last about thirty to sixty minutes and while some patients can expect to feel some discomfort if they’re struggling with chronic issues, the profound relief that often comes with treatment is motivation enough to continue.

Looking for the perfect mattress

Mattress support refers to how well a mattress keeps the sleeper’s body on a flat and level plane. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can lead to or worsen back pain.
Of course, there is no such thing as a “perfect” mattress for everyone. It’s important to choose a mattress that fits your natural sleeping posture. Here are few different types of mattresses to try out:

Air
Sagging and loss of support (barring mechanical breakdown) is usually less of a problem with airbeds compared to most other bed types. And the air chambers inside an airbed provide at least fair conforming ability and allow for adjustable firmness / support to suit personal preference and sleep position. Airbeds, however, with little or no comfort layer can be too firm on hips and or shoulders of small- to average-sized side sleepers.

Memory Foam
While memory foam mattresses can develop problems (sagging, excessive softness, and loss of support) these problems tend to not be as common or serious as they can be with innerspring-based mattresses (memory foam’s main competition). Memory foam also provides good conforming ability for average- to large-sized people. Firmness levels tend to be mostly medium to medium-firm. Smaller-sized people may experience excessive pressure points, as they tend to not exert adequate pressure on the mattress to benefit from the foam’s conforming ability.

Latex
Latex can develop body impressions and soften to some extent, but these problems tend to not cause widespread pain problems. Latex often conforms moderately to the body. Firmness tends to be medium to firm (but soft varieties are available).

Hybrid (Memory Foam / Spring)
Hybrid mattresses often provide above-average support, but such support breaks down for at least 18% of owners within three years due to sagging. Conforming ability tends to be good if at least two inches of memory foam is present. A variety of firmness’s are available.

Water
While waterbeds are often highly conforming, their support is questionable. At least 15% of owners claim that their waterbed causes back pain because of poor support. Firmness can be adjusted somewhat by adding or removing water.

Innerspring
Innerspring mattresses often provide at least fair support, but such support breaks down for at least 20% of owners within three years due to sagging. Models with a significant comfort layer often provide fair conforming ability, while models with a minimal comfort layer often provide poor conforming ability especially for small- to average-sized people.

Doc I got a question! 5 things to ask during a check up

Even the best doctor can’t give you the right answers to your health queries if you’re not asking the right questions. So if you keep up with your annual checkups, make the most of your limited time in the doctor’s office with the following questions. They will not only help you truly understand your health; they’ll ensure you take control of your own wellness as well.

Here are the 5 questions to ask your physician at your next annual checkup:

1. Is my weight within the healthy range?

Are you super model skinny or vastly obese? You, like most people, probably fall in somewhere in between, but you might not have the medical knowledge to determine if your weight is actually healthy. That’s why it’s wise to put weight on the table with your physician. Ask what an ideal weight for your particular body type is and help lower your risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

2. Considering my age and gender, do you recommend any annual screenings?

Many annual screening screenings for both men and women start when you reach a certain age, and can commence sooner due to health history for things like breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, etc. So ask your doctor if an annual pap smear, mammogram, or colonoscopy should start.

3. Considering my family history, am I at risk for certain diseases?

I know your doctor did a family history when you began as a patient, but family members have certainly been diagnosed with other illness since. It’s wise to update this list with any new conditions each year and seek the proper information about early warning signs.

4. Is sleep loss hurting my health?

Lack of sleep can exacerbate existing health problems. For instance, it contributes to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you’re not getting 7 to 8-hours of sleep per night, you’re putting yourself at risk for stress-induced illness, depression, and more. So keep a sleep log if you’re having trouble sleeping and bring it with you to your appointment.

5. Is my blood pressure in the healthy range?

Cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke, particularly for women, typically start with elevated blood pressure. That’s why a yearly check in with your doctor (and self-monitoring throughout the rest of the year), will determine if you require lifestyle or medication changes to promote healthy circulation.

5 great New Year’s resolutions for Chronic Pain Relief

Everyone makes a New Year’s resolutions. It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. For that chronic pain you’ve been dealing with for a while now, you should make that a priority for the New Year. This year, pick up a few of the following worthy resolutions to relive your chronic pain:

1. Walk at least 3 or 4 times a week.
The benefits are clear: Regular low impact aerobic exercise is thought to reduce inflammation, strengthen your muscles, and provide healing by sending oxygen-rich blood to the painful area.

2. Stand up every hour
Having a lengthy commute and a desk job doesn’t have to mean sitting all day.
Sitting less is key to improving back health; one study found that just 66 fewer minutes sitting each day significantly reduces back and neck pain while also improving your mood. Use a laptop stand or standing desk at work as opposed to a traditional desk. The discs of your lower spine are compressed up to 3 times as much while sitting; so standing at work can relieve pressure on the spine.

3. Practice yoga
Yoga is a mind/body exercise that reduces stress, increases flexibility, builds strength, and for many people, helps to reduce pain. Many people with back pain or other pain conditions that result from lifestyle factors like poor posture can benefit greatly from yoga.

4. Stop smoking
If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Smoking and chronic pain have a strong relationship. Smokers are three times more likely to experience lower back pain than non-smokers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Quitting smoking can be highly challenging but is definitely worth the effort. Don’t put off quitting. Set a date and stick to it. Share the date with friends and family, so you’re more committed to that date and they can help hold you accountable to it.

5. Give your feet some well-deserved love
For all types of chronic pain, take better care of your feet this year. They support our entire bodies in everything we do, and they deserve a little attention. Wash, dry, and inspect your feet daily, no matter your condition. Give them a little massage to keep the circulation flowing. Lastly, do not sacrifice style for comfort and find a pair of shoes that are perfect for your feet.

10 Simple Exercises for Sciatica Pain

1) Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is the simplest of all. Use your knees and hands to get down. Assume a praying position by keeping the hands on the ground right in front of you. Remain in this position as long as you want. Of course, don’t stay for an hour or two because your legs will hurt.

2) The Cat Pose
This is a very simple exercise. Use your knees and hands to kneel on the ground. Slowly bend the back down and gently lift the chest by using the power of your shoulders. Breathe deeply and hold this position for about 10 seconds.

3) Frog Pose
If most inner-thigh openers feel too easy (and your ankles and knees are injury-free), try the Frog Pose. Get down on all fours, with palms on the floor and your knees on blankets or a mat (roll your mat lengthwise, like a tortilla, and place it under your knees for more comfort). Slowly widen your knees until you feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thighs, keeping the inside of each calf and foot in contact with the floor. Make sure to keep your ankles in line with your knees. Lower down to your forearms. Stay here for at least 30 seconds.

4) The Knee Raise
Lie down on the floor and bring one of your knees close to the chest while the other leg remains straight. Use your hands to push and pull the knees. Your shoulders should stay on the ground all the time.

5) The Two-Knee Twist
Start this exercise by lying down on the back. Spread your hands in order to create a capital T letter. While keeping the shoulders on the ground, turn the knees out to the left and after that to the right. Your shoulders should remain on the ground all the time. Stay in this position for about 60 seconds and after that switch sides.

6) The Single Knee Twist
Once again, lie on the back. Leave one of your legs in a straight position and bend one of the knees to a right angle. Use the opposite hand on this knee. Turn your head to the arm that remains on the ground. Your shoulders should be pressed against the ground.

7) The Seated Twist
Sit on the ground and keep the legs straight right in front of you. Bend the leg exactly at the knee and put it on the outer side of the other knee. It is up to you to choose whether the leg will be curled up or straight. Place one of your hands flat on the ground right behind you and place the opposite elbow on the outer side of the bent knee. Slowly turn to face right behind you and stay with the legs pointing straight forward.

8) Nerve glides
Nerve glides help improve flexibility, but be careful of stretching the nerve. The more symptom-free movement you have in your legs, the better. Be cautious though, because stretching a nerve may irritate it and cause more pain. By doing nerve glides, you increase the range that your nerves can glide in your body – the more flexible and loose they are, the less likely they are to cause pain and irritation.

9) Dead Bug
An important part of rehabbing sciatica is increasing your core stabilization. Dead bug and bird dog are fantastic exercises to increase your core strength and stability.

10) Bird dog
Bird dog increases your core control by challenging you to stabilize your body on opposite arm and leg. Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips square as you reach one arm forward and the opposite leg back.