As paramedics, one thing that we need to protect is our backs. If your back gets hurt, you don’t work.
If it’s hurt badly enough, you get boarded, which pretty much means you’ll be office bound for your remaining years. It’s the end of your happiness if you were born to work on the road.
PROTECT YOUR BACK!
When they say that you need to lift a certain way, or only carry certain weights, they aren’t kidding around. There is a definite scientific formula which denotes that the stress on your back and weight you are able to pick up is determined by the weight and height of any one person.
The area of your back, most susceptible to pain and damage by incorrect lifting, is you lumbar spine, in particular, the lumbosacral area. The lumbar spine is the area which provides most movement and flexibility, and is the area that supports most of a person’s body weight.
When lifting incorrectly, your back is rounded, and you tend to pull the heavy object up with your arms. This causes a strain on your lower back, and if severe enough, can damage the important structures that are within your back. To lift correctly, ensure that your head is up, your arms are kept close to your body, your back is straight and your knees are bent so that all of the weight is essentially lifted with your legs.
The most common serious injury seen in paramedics when they have back injuries is herniated discs. The continuous strain on the intervertebral discs causes them to rupture, herniate or disintegrate. This causes the vertebrae to rub together causing pain. Usually, when surgery is required, the vertebra on either side of the herniated disk is fused together, essentially forming one bone. This prevents movement between the two bones and prevents further pain.
The best way to prevent lower back pain is to ensure that the muscles surrounding your spine are kept strong. The best exercise are swimming, cycling and walking, and they don’t need to be performed at a gym. These particular exercises may also assist in preventing the return of lower back pain if you have indeed already injured your back.
Once your back has been seriously hurt, the risk of further injury is high, and if it serious enough, you may struggle with lifelong pain and discomfort. It is essential to do what you can now; protect your back.