Working in healthcare can be very rewarding, but it can take a toll on your back. Transferring and lifting patients, pushing around equipment, and being on your feet all day can place significant demands on your back. Both acute and chronic back injuries and problems can develop. If back injuries are severe enough, it can cut a career short and interfere with your quality of life.
Back injuries are due to several factors including using poor posture and lifting techniques. Repetitive motions can also cause back problems. Keeping your back healthy and knowing how to prevent injuries is essential if you work in the healthcare field. There are things you can do in order to maintain a healthy back.
Always consider the situation before attempting to lift or transfer a patient. Consider the weight of the patient and what you are doing. Assisting a patient to a standing position may require different equipment than repositioning a patient in bed. Access whether you need any lifting equipment or help from additional staff.
Educate yourself on the type of lifting equipment available at your healthcare facility. Be sure you understand how to use the equipment. You should also know which lifting assist devices are best for which situation. Lifting assist equipment is there for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use it.
Using the correct lifting technique is one of the most important things you can do to avoid injury. When lifting, remember to bend at the knees not at the back. Use your legs to help if needed. Avoid twisting motions, which can lead to injury. If you are lifting equipment, keep the objects close to your body. Always be on the safe side when it comes to lifting. Know your limitations, and never be afraid to ask multiple people to help.
Maintain Back Health
In addition to avoiding injury by using proper lifting techniques, it is equally critical to take care of yourself in order to maintain a strong back. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more pressure on your back and can lead to chronic back problems. Additionally, performing back exercises will help keep your back muscles strong and helps prevent injuries. Strong abdominal muscles also help protect your back against injuries.
Certain sleep positions can also lead to back problems is some people. Sleeping on your back places more pressure on the back. Consider sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, which usually puts less stress on the back.
Always try to maintain good posture when you stand and sit. If you are sitting doing charting for an extended period of time, avoid slumping your shoulders or sloughing.
If you do get injured on the job, be sure to notify the appropriate person at your place of employment. This may include employee health or your supervisor. Back injuries are nothing to ignore and need to be taken care of before they become worse.