Archive for the ‘Sprain/Strain Injuries’ category

Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive

May 22, 2017

OFFICE-WORKER-SLOUCHINGWe have all heard about the studies on sitting and how it can negatively impact our health.  It has been proven that sitting for extended periods of time is not good for us.

Office personnel, especially executives, spend a lot of time sitting and looking at a computer.  This sustained posture can cause neck and shoulder discomfort, headaches, low back pain, a sort of malaise, and shall I say it??? a feeling of “I’m getting old”!

Executives, many times, are too busy to even acknowledge the onset of chronic discomfort until lifestyles are affected.

25 years ago we discovered that the “laws of sitting” are not being taught.  This lack of education was exposed when our society became dependent on computers, allowing access to the world while seated in an office or home.

The exposure of this lack of knowledge manifested via fatigue, discomfort, pain and for some, even injury.  ATTEMPTED solutions have included ergonomic chairs, keyboards, sit-stand desks, treadmills with keyboards, etc.  Ergonomic solutions are certainly important, but my gosh, they can become quite expensive.  Moreover, how frustrating it is to the person with wrist, back or neck pain when the $800 chair doesn’t quite eliminate the problem.

Knowledge is power as the saying goes.  There are simple laws of how to sit.  Violation of these laws cause accelerated “micro trauma”. The accumulation of insidious micro trauma is called Cumulative Micro Trauma (CMT) which is the cause of the symptoms mentioned above.

If you assess your body right now, we know that in one or several areas you will feel your own CMT.  The good news is once we know the true source of a problem, the problem can be solved.

The laws of sitting, once known, puts people in charge of how they feel.  What we can do is learn how to sit properly, learn how to set up our chairs, monitors, keyboards, and yes, get rid of CMT by doing certain stretches designed specifically for executives and office support personnel.

I will share some of the laws that we teach in our Sittingsafe® workshops across North America over the next few newsletters.

Here is our first Sittingsafe tip:

blood-vessels-sem-1ykwp1oYour body has 62,500 miles of blood vessels (amazing fact!).  Blood provides oxygen, nutrition and takes away waste.  A law of sitting is to prevent closed angles.  Your ankles, knees, hips and elbows should be positioned at 90 degrees or slightly more to assist blood flow.  Key factors to open angles are the height of your chair and position of your keyboard, mouse and monitor.  Do not let your computer and office furniture dictate your body’s positions.  Adjust your chair so that your knees are slightly below your hips, for most of the day make sure your feet aren’t tucked under your chair (closes ankle and knee angles!)

When typing, your hands should be on the keyboard at the same height or slightly below your elbow (keyboard trays are needed by most people) and the same is true for the mouse.

We will continue these tips in our next newsletter.

Please keep in mind that it is quite simple to alleviate most discomfort caused by sitting.  You just need to know the laws of sitting contained in our Sittingsafe program!

FIT has trainers available across the US and Canada to conduct on-site Sittingsafe workshops for office and executive personnel.  We don’t sell furniture or ergonomic equipment.  We teach people what society forgot to teach us.  Knowledge is power!  Especially if it makes us feel good!

Contact us for more information on our Sittingsafe program (800.775.2225)

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc.

Luck vs. Prepared

March 27, 2017

four-leaf-cloverLuck, A Poor Workers’ Comp Strategy

I have been in the workplace injury prevention business now for over 25 years.  I wish I had a $10 bill for every time I heard “we are lucky so far, injuries are way down”, or “we’ve had some bad luck lately, our injuries are up”, or something to that effect.

Luck appears to have a lot to do with back injuries in particular.  I spoke to a nurse not too long ago and after discussing a spate of back injuries to her colleagues she said “I guess I am just lucky.”

It’s certainly nice to have luck on our side, but unfortunately it is not always dependable.  In business and in life, the less control we have over something the more we have to rely on luck; not exactly a highly successful strategy!

Control is a word that is sometimes maligned, however, it is a huge key to our success, health and happiness.  The more control we have over aspects of our lives, the more successful we are.  Whether it be a bicycle, car, computer, job, finances, or our minds, optimal control makes life more fun and rewarding.

When we were creating the Backsafe® Injury Prevention Programs, we had to understand the exact cause of back injuries to offer reliable and consistent solutions.  We couldn’t sell four leaf clovers for very long and get away with it!

We discovered that when people learned the actual cause of back, shoulder and other sprain/strain types of injuries; and learned how to prevent them as it applied to their lives, back injuries went way down and in some companies almost ceased!

We rely on luck significantly more so when we can’t control well.  4da72e5455df7cfd9c13d6086ff441c9The Vegas slot machine is virtually all luck because of a total lack of control of those spinning dials.

Your employees can control their health better.  They just need to become aware of how to do that.  The more your employees control their own well-being, the more you are controlling your workers’ comp costs, productivity and lost time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Everything in nature goes by law, and not by luck”.

The spine (shoulders, wrists, neck too) operates on its own laws, and when one knows them it should last a lifetime…no luck needed!

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc. 

 

Wrist Pain? Some solutions are at hand!

July 23, 2010

Custodial/janitorial personnel experience a lot of material handling and repetitive activities daily.  Recently we encountered a hospital janitor who was about to file an injury claim because of a painful wrist.  He attended our Backsafe® workshop and reported that within just days of injury prevention training, he could again experience the joy of picking up his young daughter, pain-free.

His particular malady was caused by improper wrist position while buffing the hospital’s floors.  He was exerting force and sustaining bad wrist position for long durations while operating his buffer machine.  Add vibration to the mix and it caused enough pain and inflammation to ruin his peace of mind and life style. 

A key datum to know is: whenever possible, keep your wrist straight.  This particular person worked with his wrists in extension (hands bent up higher that his wrists). 

The muscles that move your fingers are in your forearms and when your wrists are in extension, this contracts the muscle on the topside of your forearms.  When chronically in this posture, fatigue, discomfort, pain and eventually injury can surely occur. 

So, while you’re at work buffing floors; breaking up concrete with a jack hammer; using other power tools; or typing on a keyboard, keep your wrists straight. 

At home, the same rule applies.  

The importance of stretching cannot be overstated as well.  A brief and simple stretch can bring some relief.  Gently flex your wrists up and down—extra stretch can be attained by using the opposite hand to slowly pull fingers back towards forearm; and conversely, pull fingers towards the underside of your forearm.  If you experience any pain while doing this, stop immediately and seek a doctor’s advice.  

You can be in charge of your own well-being.  It is not your doctor’s job—it is yours.  Your doctor helps you if you become injured or sick.  You can be in charge of preventing injuries!

Roof Top Exposure

July 16, 2010

Looking out the office window I spied a team of roofers stripping a damaged roof, repairing it and re-shingling.  The sight of 12 men on a steep roof, with very few safety precautions in place gave me heart palpitations—a slight fear of heights revisited perhaps?!

Setting aside the slips/falls risk, I observed several shockingly egregious biomechanical no-nos.   Here you can see the torqueing whilst lifting heavy, bulky packages of roofing materials; bending at the waist, as opposed to lifting correctly…can you spot some additional safety offenses? 

It made me think about the diversity of job tasks and the epidemic of ignorance of proper biomechanics, and by ignorance I mean that people just don’t know!

Each of these roofers is important to someone—as a father, husband, friend, son, brother, co-worker.  When (and it is a near certainty that an injury will occur with the every day strain he places upon himself with poor biomechanics) he becomes injured, each of these people will be adversely affected.  Not to mention the poor injured soul who thinks that the injury occurred because of an isolated action.  He won’t know that it was repeated at-risk motions that gradually wore his body down until it gave in to the damage.  He won’t know that the injury could have been prevented.  And, most unfortunate, he’ll likely return to the same job with the same bad habits and become re-injured.  Thus, the tragic cycle of injury-work comp—re-injury and thus the business owner’s workers’ comp premium skyrockets. 

So, now I’ll step down from my soapbox and talk about solutions…

  1. Stretch muscles before, during and after repeated and/or strenuous activities.  These stretches don’t take much time, they are simple and most importantly, they are effective!
  2. Always Face the Load When Lifting. This mantra reflects the spine’s desire to NOT twist!
  3. Keep the Load Close to Your Body.  Reaching out from your body puts incrementally more and more pressure on your spine—again, it does NOT like this!
  4. Keep Your Head Level While Lifting.  This helps to keep the naturally occurring curves in your spine in the correct position.
  5. Wear some type of safety harness while working on high, unprotected surfaces, like a ROOF!

So, these are the tips that I share with you from these photos.  Have you got some good ones to add to my list?  Let’s hear ‘em!

Spitting Cobras lead to carpal tunnel! Wait! What?

June 11, 2010

Where are the muscles that move your fingers and why is it important to know?  They are in your forearm.  These muscles transition into tendons that go through the wrist joint and attach to your finger bones—in layman’s terms.

 “Keep your wrists straight while typing” is a key principle in our office ergonomics program—Sittingsafe®.  You want to minimize friction and resistance in your wrist area to prevent accumulated repetitive stress. 

 This is why we don’t want you using those darn “feet” in the back of the keyboard!  When these are utilized, the back of your keyboard is raised, which in turn, forces your wrists to bend (spitting cobra style!).  If anything, the front of your keyboard should be raised so that your wrists can stay straight.  Your keyboard is at the correct height when your hands are slightly below your elbows when typing. 

 F.I.T. Rule:  “Keep wrists straight” and not just when typing.

 We have helped prevent surgeries for those that work on computers, buff floors, use jackhammers, and in countless manufacturing jobs.  Hand and wrist pain can alter your lifestyle considerably.  Use these tips to help keep you happy, healthy and in the game!

 Let us know if this helps!