Posted tagged ‘health’

The Mouse is a BIG deal! Who knew?

June 23, 2017

Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive…Part Three

In our last 2 editions of “Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive” we began our discussion on how to prevent insidious pains and discomforts caused by sitting and working on computers.   These physical inconveniences along with fatigue and headaches are the result of “cumulative micro trauma” (CMT).  It fits the definition of insidious perfectly as CMT is apparently hidden to most people until the “micro trauma” accumulates enough to cause the above mentioned physical manifestations.

happy-at-work-saidaonlineThe GOOD news is just because you sit while working and use a computer and a phone (Oh my goodness!!) doesn’t mean you have to feel bad!  There is a technique for everything in life and FIT’s Laws of Sitting help people to prevent and eliminate CMT.

In our last publication I mentioned neck and shoulder discomfort and how a monitor’s position can predispose one to these conditions.  Well guess what else is causing countless people across globe neck, shoulder, headaches and wrist issues?  It only weighs a few ounces but causes tons of pain to many people.  The MOUSE’s position dictates where 6% of your body’s weight is positioned.  Yes your arm and shoulder weigh approximately 6% of your body weight.

Crispy-Computer-mouse-top-down-viewCheck this out.  Bend your elbow to a 90 degree angle with it next to your body.  Now push your elbow (arm) away from your body about 4 inches, the approximate position people are in when working with their mouse.  Hold your arm in that position for 30 seconds or so, or until you feel discomfort.  Please notice where the discomfort is registering on your body.  Now put your arm back close and next to your body again.  Do you feel sudden relief?

You will significantly reduce neck and shoulder discomfort (and even some headaches) by keeping your elbow close to your body when “mousing”.   The basics of office ergonomics are VERY SIMPLE.  All of us can better control how we feel on and off the job by learning the how to sit and use our electronics properly.  Call us to discuss our on-site employee and budget friendly Sittingsafe® program for office personnel and executives or our Backsafe® program for non-office personnel (800.775.2225).

Our next edition will address back pains and injuries and how they can be prevented on and off the job.  Until then reread this series of 3 newsletters on how to prevent office related CMT and make yourself feel better to more enjoy the life you work so hard for!

Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive…Part Deux

June 10, 2017

Young-Man-with-Back-PainOur last edition defined CMT (Cumulative Micro Trauma) the cause of most physical discomfort attendant to sitting and working on a computer.  You may feel CMT on your body as fatigue, discomfort, or pain.  The pandemic existence of CMT among office workers around the world affects moods, joint function, production and well-being.

Employers, not aware of CMT as the source of employee “ergonomic” complaints, are compelled to purchase new ergonomic furniture, equipment and gadgets that in many cases, don’t completely solve the employee’s condition.

The basic fundamental of problem solving is to determine the exact cause, as eliminating the exact cause of any problem eliminates the problem.

smartphone_computer_desk-587ff5f73df78c2ccd054726A prevalent issue with most office workers or executives in today’s high tech world is CMT, as a result of computer and cell phone related repetitive activities.  The solution is to prevent CMT.  Most offices are already equipped with furniture that can be adjusted adequately to position 95% of human beings properly.  Yet close to 100% (actual fact) of the people that work in offices sit and work at their computer incorrectly!!

FIT’s Sittingsafe® program teaches the “Laws of Sitting” which are almost completely unknown by our society.  Not knowing these very simple laws predisposes us to CMT and the gamut of physical symptoms.

Our first edition described maintaining “open angles”.  I trust that has been helpful.  Today I want to mention “neutral head posture”.  Your monitor’s position—height and distance from your eyes—dictates the position of your head.  If you are experiencing neck and shoulder pain, this will help (as will the next edition…stay tuned!). Your head weighs 10-12 pounds when you maintain a neutral posture; that is, when your head is in its natural position while looking straight ahead in a relaxed state.

bad-posture-urgent-careHowever, your 12 pound head can have the effect of weighing over 30 pounds (!) when you slouch and “turtle” your head out towards your monitor while looking at your screen.  This is called “forward head posture” and is very insidious. Many people as a result of this chronic posture, have their heads and neck fixed in this position permanently causing continual stress on their neck and shoulders.

Not only does “forward head posture” cause neck and shoulder discomfort but it also reduces your oxygen intake.

Check this out:

Sit up straight with your head in neutral posture and while noticing your air intake, take 2 nice deep breaths.

Now jut your chin out as if looking at your monitor incorrectly  (forward head posture) and try taking 2 deep breaths—you can’t do it, right?!

“Forward head posture” contributes to neck and shoulder pain and discomfort, headaches, and your ability to breath normally.

SOLUTION to prevent “forward head posture”:  Move your monitor closer to you or increase the font size to prevent the urge to be closer to your monitor.

FIT offers on-site group Sittingsafe workshops anywhere in the country.  We teach people how to set up their existing workstations and a very powerful stretching routine specific for office workers.

We also conduct one-on-one ergonomic evaluations.

Visit our website at www.backsafe.com for more information on Sittingsafe and our industrial lifting program Backsafe®.

Until next time, remember Open Angles and Neutral Head Posture!  You’ll feel better, I promise!

What Muscles Wish You Knew About Reversing Years of Damage

May 9, 2016

woman-stretching-2Athletes stretch for top performance in their sports. This type of stretching is dynamic, meaning everything moves – the arms, legs, back and head. Athletes doing dynamic stretching move through the different stretches, but don’t hold them for more than a few seconds.

1dc1eff804efbbcc_7348-w233-h233-b1-p10--rustic-wall-clocks

Employees stretch to turn back time. This reverses the slow, steady damage done to muscles when they aren’t used properly.

“On the job, top speed is not so important, so static stretching is more helpful here,” says Dr. Rob Handelman, D.C. “It can maintain a person’s flexibility of the low back, shoulders, hands, arms, legs, ankles, and neck, which is lost over time due to repetitive motions and sustained postures.”

Dr. Handelman co-created the Backsafe® training program to improve employee well-being at work and at home by incorporating simple exercises to be done before and throughout the workday. The workplace can be a kitchen, a warehouse, plant, truck, car, office, hospital or an airplane.

The idea behind on-the-job static stretching is to reverse the position you’re in most of the day. Prolonged postures and repetitive activities (gripping, leaning forward, looking down much of the day) cause muscles or groups of muscles to shorten and deprive them of their normal full range of motion. They become tight, weakened and thus easier to injure.

“It doesn’t mean you’re going to get injured, just that you’re more vulnerable,” according to Dr. Handelman.

ladder_safety_falling_accidentThis result, from cumulative use and prolonged postures, happens over time, and differs from a single acute trauma event, such as falling from a height or a sudden impact.

Static stretches are of greatest use to workers since it is common in many occupations to have loss of flexibility in the hands, back, legs, and upper chest and shoulders.

When asked which job descriptions are at the greatest risk of developing short, tight, more easily injured muscles and joints, Dr. Handelman answered without hesitation, “Everybody that repeats movements often or maintains postures for a long time.”

“Since often they can’t change the job, what they can do is to return the muscles to their normal range of motion with stretching. They can permanently maintain a normal range of motion by doing static stretches and warmups before starting their job activity, and after a considerable number of job activities throughout the day.”

12-Surprising-Things-a-Flight-Attendant-Cant-Do-for-You-So-Stop-AskingFor example, upper extremity tightness and discomfort are common in flight attendants and manufacturing from using their hands often and while looking downward. Mechanics use tools constantly and can develop grip problems. Office personnel can experience over 250,000 muscle contractions just working at a computer on any given day.

Over time, the body believes the length of the muscles should be the current shortened position. What happens is the tight muscles lose strength and are weaker because they can’t contract or relax fully anymore, and on top of that are now more susceptible to injury.

“One should be able to straighten your elbows completely when placing your hands together behind your back. A worker who performs continuous lifting motions at work, where they lift but don’t straighten the arms, will cause the arm and chest muscles to shorten over time,” Dr. Handelman says.

By doing hand, wrist, chest and shoulder stretches, a worker can help to return the upper extremities to a full and more normal range of motion, thus less prone to experience a future painful injury.

There is some controversy about stretching and whether it should be dynamic or static, Dr. Handelman reveals. As noted above, dynamic stretching involves full body movement, using the legs and arms. Static stretching is when you stretch and hold.

“Since we are most often working with maintaining and returning joints and muscles to their normal full range of motion, static is the kind of on-the-job stretching we mostly teach in our  Backsafe® and Sittingsafe® Injury Prevention Programs.  That means stretching a muscle or group of muscles to their farthest point of motion without pain, and then holding it for 5 to 30 seconds,” he explains.

lab-tech-300x199.jpgHe recommends the Backsafe stretches for all job descriptions outside of those that require a sitting position while working. The Sittingsafe stretches are designed specifically for those that mainly sit while working including executives, office workers, laboratory, and dispatch personnel.

Static stretching can reverse any effects of cumulative, repetitive positions or motions done over and over at work, Handelman says.

“You want to  prevent tightness in your body, you want to maintain your mobility,  you want to protect your quality of life so you can do more things and have less chance of pain now and especially as we age.”

Interested in learning more about how you can use this information in your company?  Contact Dennis Downing, CEO of Future Industrial Technologies (FIT) about Backsafe & Sittingsafe workshops that can be delivered in your facility! 1-800-775-2225

(Rob McCarthy is a freelance writer and contributor to the Backsafe® newsletter.)

Reflecting on Personal Cost of an Injury

April 23, 2013

iStock_000003248402XSmallThis week ended on a revelatory note for me.

As the Quality Control Manager here at  F.I.T., the Backsafe® Injury Prevention company, I’ve read our various articles and newsletters about debilitating back pain from sprain/strain injuries and wondered about it. I’ve tried to imagine what it might be like to have an injury that devastating. Of course my imaginings are never close to the real thing.

I have a fairly sedentary job and I’m a mom of an almost two-year old. I don’t consider myself at high risk for workplace injuries. I still try to incorporate the Backsafe® stretches, lifts and safety precautions whenever and wherever possible. In fact, I was originally going to write about how often I bend and lift things during the day. I was even going to count how many times a day I picked up my daughter (almost 30 lbs now), her toys, placed her into and out of the car, stayed bent over for a prolonged period of time (bath time – the worst!). That idea quickly dissipated. You try keeping count when you are running after little miss funny pants!

Instead, I had an injury of my own this week (not by choice, of course). Luckily it was relatively quickly remedied and not back related. But it had quite an impact on me – not simply because it was excruciatingly painful, but because of how much I was not able to do. How much I was not able to be there for my kiddo, play with her, laugh with her, or even smile for her sometimes.  Not to mention how much her good little heart was trying to help me, though there wasn’t much she could do (we decided hugs were best). It was heart wrenching!

Now that I am well again, and can think a bit more clearly, I can look at and fully appreciate the idea of prevention. It was the accumulation of many little things that led up to my injury, much like sprains and strains in the workplace. Prevention is a novel idea with regard to workplace injuries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have never had an injury to begin with? How much time, money, energy, and upset could be spared by completely avoiding that situation? Sadly, it sometimes takes an incident to bring the idea of prevention to the forefront.

It’s always good to be reminded of the blessings we have. Backsafe training is one of those blessings for me. To me it’s one thing that I feel empowered to do to keep myself healthy and present for the ones that are most important to me. That is a priceless value in my eyes.

By Julie Villinsky, Quality Control Manager, Future Industrial Technologies

Backsafe® Driving or Are We There Yet?

April 26, 2012

Summer is just around the corner and of course that means many families are planning vacations.  Vacations often involve road trips—traveling longer distances than usual.  Add in some extra summer activities and a stressed out and painful back can result!

Here are a few tips to consider when spending a lot of time in your vehicle:

  • Any sustained posture for long periods of time isn’t ideal for your body.  Changing your seat position from time to time can help prevent irritating discomfort.
  • At least every 2 hours get out of your car and move around a little to help get your blood flowing and to relieve stress from being in a sustained sitting posture.
  • When getting out of the car, do not twist especially while bent at the waist.
  • Immediately after getting out of your car, do the following simple stretches:

Back extensions: these reverse the sitting posture, thus relieving stress.

Chest extension:  When driving your arms are holding on to the steering wheel.  The chest extension is the reverse posture to this and can give you much relief–and even help you to breathe more deeply.

Hamstring stretch: When we sit, our hamstrings shorten.  Tight hamstrings can affect our backs.  Stand approximately 3 feet from your car with your legs straight–shoulder width apart.  With your hands on the car for support, bend forward at the waist with your head level, looking straight ahead.  This will help your hamstrings return to normal length and help protect your back.

Take advantage of those ubiquitous rest areas to let the kids out and run off some pent-up energy.  Let the children join in on the stretches.  Each family member could even take a turn leading the stretch session!  You will all arrive at your destination with less stress, more energy and family vacation experiences already underway!

Need a handy laminated reminder card of these stretches plus a few others?  It even folds up to a convenient wallet size!  F.I.T. has them in stock!  Check out the Backsafe® website for more info.

It’s SPRINGtime! Get out to the garden…safely!

April 11, 2012

It is that time of year when the veil of winter gives way to sunshine and the growing season.

Digging, wheel barrowing, lifting bags of soil amendments, etc., even for the well conditioned athlete, can if not done correctly, cause back pain and injury.

 

 

Tips for shoveling:

Have the right tools

Digging with a proper shovel can make a big difference.  Make sure you use a shovel that is light and has a long handle so you can shovel in a more upright position.  Remember, not only are you lifting the dirt, but you have the weight of the shovel and yes, even your arms that contribute to the resulting force on your spine.

Know your spine

You have 3 curves in your spine.  When shoveling try to maintain those curves, in other words, keep your back as straight as you can.  Bending at the waist while lifting a shovel full of soil puts undue pressure on your low back.  A trick to help you is when lifting, keep your head up.  You don’t have to look at the sky, just keep your head in a neutral or straight forward posture.  This will help keep your back straight and make you use your bigger and more powerful leg muscles more.  Lastly, never twist when shoveling.  Always aim your “drop” zone at either the 10 or 2 o’clock position.  Never shovel to your side (9 or 3 o’clock position) or behind you.

Working around the yard can be invigorating and even good for your muscles if you do it correctly.  In fact, when done correctly can be a good physical activity.

After You’re Done…

A thorough stretch can’t be understated in terms of benefits!  You’ve worked your body hard, it likes a moment to regroup!  Take a moment to survey the effects you’ve just created, take some deep breaths and stretch those muscles to help avoid soreness the next day.