Save Your Backs!

One of the most common injuries in child development, to the teachers, is back injury.  Once you throw your back out once, it’s GAME OVER! 

Partly because it’s your back and it just is going to constantly give you problems after that, and partly because we don’t ever really allow ourselves to fully heal the way we should, do we?  It’s the nature of who we are!

Did you know that you can throw your back out simply by picking up a single piece of paper off the floor?  It’s true!  It’s not HOW HEAVY the item is but merely HOW you are picking it up.

So, how do you save your back?  I’m going to give you a few simple tips:

First, that paper that is on the floor?  You have two options.  First, bending your knees, keeping your back upright, head up, squat down next to the paper and then stand back up, using your legs to push yourself up.  This goes the same for lifting any heavy item. 

Second is what I have heard be called the “golfer’s bend”.  Simply bend forward at the waste while shifting your weight to one leg and having the other leg, remaining straight, lift behind you.  It’s almost like it stays inline with your back.  Keep your back straight and your leg that is kicking out straight.

This one you have to be careful that there aren’t children behind you because you might accidentally kick them…wouldn’t want that, would we?

When lifting a heavier item (like a child) again squat down to the ground keeping your head up and your back straight.  Pull the load close to your body (think hug it close) and straighten your legs using your leg muscles to push that weight. 

Someone once gave me the hint to spot a point on the wall across from you about eye height and keep your eye on that spot.  This will force your head to remain up and, as a result, will force you to use your legs rather than your back.

The other important thing to remember in all of this is to NOT TWIST your body.  If you are carrying something and need to move it, even just a 90 degree turn from where it is, plant your feet, pick it up, then step forward (or backward) in order to turn your body in the direction.

Many times this comes into play when you are changing diapers on a changing table.  Even though we have those changing tables that have steps that the children can climb, there are times that we can’t use the steps (either the child is too young or unable to do this yet, etc…).  When this happens I do the following:

First, I crouch down to the child’s level, knees bent back straight.  I embrace the child in a warm hug (they don’t even know that I’m actually saving my back).  While hugging her close to me, I stand up, using my legs to propel us up.  I turn my feet and make sure that I am facing the table before laying her down.

After the diaper change, I again hug the child close to me.  If she can stand, it’s even easier because I can get her to hug me back.  As she hugs me and I huge her close, I again turn my feet so they are facing away from the table and crouch back down, making sure to firmly plant her feet on the ground if she is a walker.

These are just a few tips to help save your back; but if you keep these in the front of your mind, you will save yourself a lot of pain later!

Do you have any tips for back safety?

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