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Thursday, June 24, 2010


Lifting is one of those basics we all learned in EMT class or at our first job in EMS. Squat, get a firm grip, and lift up with the legs.

We get lectured and lectured and lectured. Body mechanics, and injury prevention, and asking for lift assists when needed. You never ever bend your back to lift, and it's all because of the discs between the vertebrae in your spine. They cushion the weight across their full surface so long as your back is straight. When you bend your back, you're putting pressure on just a small portion or edge of the disc. Add a bunch of extra weight to a spine that isn't cushioning properly and your back isn't going to work the way you want it too.

These are discs. Be nice to them, because they can herniate, too. And no one likes hernias.

We all do stupid things. Particularly when it comes to putting our patients before our own safety. Because when you've got a bariatric patient in severe respiratory distress, sometimes you lift wrong to get the job done. As in, when your legs can't compensate for the additional weight and you have to throw your back and arms into it.

And then... you will be sore. You will be very, very sore, and you will have to take a sick day.

For those quiet times when you can consider things, like your sanity, here's some reading:

Lifting and Moving - hopperinsitute.com

Watch Your Back - emsresponder.com

Bariatric Lifting and Moving - emsresponder.com

Also, can I get one of these? As an early birthday present? Pretty please?

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