Moving and Handling is a phrase that is used a lot in industries, particularly in healthcare, and, according to Health and Safety Executive 2017, staff sickness due to poor manual handling has reduced due to increased education and advances in equipment.
But "Manual Handling" is not only limited to a work environment, but the aim of this blog is also to develop a mindfulness of the risks that your body could be in when you are at home, playing, sitting, involved in sports and other areas.
First, let us see how injuries occur
They occur by:
- Poor posture, bending, twisting, reaching.
- Holding or manipulating loads at a distance away from the body trunk.
- Repetitive and extreme lifting and lowering distances.
- Long carrying distances.
- Excessive pulling and pushing.
- Repetitive or holding onto a load for an extended period.
- The rate of work is beyond your physical capacity.
Although this is a very reductionist view, in osteopathy, the holistic view, we would consider these factors, including the overall health of an individual. But, it is a good place to start, a building block in developing a basic awareness.
Key factors of safer handling.
1) Spine in line
Let us see how our friend here manages to "handle" a moderate weighted box.
Bending forward, with predominantly the effort of your lower back, with engaging your legs, and the heavy head driving forward, and with the attempt of lifting the box, puts enormous pressure on the lower spine, but also, a struggle for the entire spine.
Bending from the hips, keeping the back as straight as possible, maintaining the curvature of the spine, looking straight, reduces the pressure a struggle on the spine. And, allows you to utilise the powerful glutei muscle, use your leg muscles and your deep abdominal muscles., for which it is designed to do, "taking the load."
2) Keep the load close
Keeping the object close, reduces the amount of effort required to lift. Ths is based on Archimedes distance from fulcrum formula.
3) Use your leg muscles and deep abdominal muscles.
Driving up using the power from those large legs and glute muscles.
Using your abdominal muscles during the lift stabilizes the spine.