Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nurses Affected by Back Pain in Disproportionate Amounts

Back pain is one of the most common ailments that people suffer from, landing people in the doctor's waiting room for this reason over any other with the exception of colds and upper respiratory illnesses. In fact, statistics indicate that more than six million people see physicians each year due to back pain. Frequently, these trips to the doctor are a result of improper lifting. It's a primary injury not just to the population in general, but in particular affecting industrial workers and caregivers. According to studies, nurses are second only to employees in the heavy industry field for back pain ailments, which can trigger expensive nursing home workers compensation claims.

When people are assailed by back pain, it's not only a painful process but also an expensive one. Medical fees, the amount of lost wages, and the cost to rehabilitate injured workers adds up to untold amounts, but insurers indicate that the costs exceed more than a staggering $11 billion annually in terms of reimbursed medical claims and payment for lost wages for back pain alone. This amount is further amplified when one considers the time lost in production, administrative fees, and the amount of time necessary to find and train replacements for the employees who are out with a back injury.

Follow the five rules of lifting

Bending, lifting, and carrying tasks are a part of most nurses' daily routine. Nurses can help prevent back pain caused by remembering these five techniques:

Begin with a wide support base-that is, spreading the feet about hip width (rather than keeping the feet close together) to form a more stable base and increase stability.

Keep the object to be lifted close to the body-whether it's a case of supplies or a patient, make sure the center of gravity of the object being lifted is within one's own base of support. This will help balance the object much easier and more safely, helping to prevent tipping over or dropping the lifted object.

Lift with proper form. Keep the back straight, bend the knees and hips, and lift from the lower body, not the back.

Leave the twist on the dance floor. In order to make a change in direction, turn safely by shifting the feet in small, incremental steps.

Overhead lifting is best left to others. Reaching overhead can cause instability because it raises one's center of gravity. Reduce the amount of reach by using a sturdy chair or stool that won't roll or shift.