All posts by Denise

Preventing snow shoveling injuries


With the impending weather this winter it is always important to have a good understanding of shoveling safety and body mechanic’s to prevent injury and illness. Shoveling is a very repetitive activity and can easily result in muscle fatigue, muscle strains, spine injuries and even fractures if performing incorrectly. Shoveling is an exercise and anyone who has contraindications to physical exertion should not shovel and everyone else should take the following precautions.

  • Make sure to stay well hydrated. Again shoveling is an exercise and just as you would hydrate during a sport, you should also hydrate during shoveling.
  • Wear good shoe wear to prevent slipping/falls.
  • Take a few minutes to stretch before and after shoveling, if you are unaware of appropriate stretches you can reach out to your nearest physical therapist.
  • Take frequent rest breaks.
  • Make sure your shovel is not too long. A long shovel can increase the lever arm which will make it more challenging to lift the snow.
  • Push the snow when you are able versus lifting the snow.
  • Do not fill your shovel fully with snow to decrease the weight you are lifting.
  • Keep your back straight when shoveling and use your hips and knees to bend.
  •  Do not twist your back with a full shovel of snow, make sure to move your feet to turn your body.

    Good luck during this shoveling season and consult one of our licensed physical therapists at Vantage Sports and Rehab if you are experiencing any pain.

Ergonomics In The WorkPlace

Ergonomics In The Workplace

Is increasing production one of your core business objectives  this year? Are you looking to reduce workers compensation claims and healthcare cost? Assuming these are your company objectives establishing or improving  an ergonomics program should be top on your list.

Studies show that understanding and applying good ergonomic practice is important to the management of a healthy workforce. Ergonomic changes are more cost effective before major problem occur (proactive ergonomics).  Reactive ergonomics cost more responding to a multitude of  cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD’s).

Implementing a workplace ergonomic program includes the following elements:

1. Provide Management Support– A strong commitment is key from leadership. Management should have clear goals and objectives for the ergonomic program.

2. Provide Training– Training is very important for a successful outcome.  It ensures workers are educated to the benefits of ergonomics and they become more informed about ergonomics related concerns and the importance of reporting early symtoms of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s).

3. Identify Problems– Identify and reporting ergonomic problems is an important step in establishing an ergonomic program.

4. Involve Workers– Involving workers directly in the assessments, solution development and implementation will instill “team work” and a positive outcome of the ergonomic program.

5. Implement Solutions to Control Hazards– Identify solutions that can be implemented to reduce, control or eliminate workplace MSD’s.

6. Evaluate Ergonomic Process– Evaluation process and corrective measures should be established to periodically assess the effectiveness of the ergonomic process. When establishing an ergonomic process, the  assessment should include goals set for the ergonomic process.  Moving ahead, discussion should take place on the success of the implementation of the ergonomic solutions and if the goals have been met.

Establishing a ergonomic program can be tailored to meet budget guides.  It is important to start with the most critical needs first.  Initiating or improving  ergonomic programs is money well spent in reducing  cost, improving production and providing workers with a safer work environment.



Preventing Gardening Injuries

Preventing Gardening Injuries:

Winter is slowly transitioning to warmer spring weather. This is an exciting time for avid gardeners. Gardening eases stress, provides exercise, and gets you outside. It  adds beauty to your yard.
When gardening, it is very easy to become consumed spending long periods of time in awkward positions. It is important to approach gardening safely to prevent discomfort, pain, and injuries from occurring.

To avoid injuries you should follow these precautions:
1. Wear Gloves: wearing gloves will help reduce blistering from occurring. It will also protect your skin from bacteria, fungus and fertilizers.
2. Use proper body mechanics: It is important to remember to use your  leg muscles when  bending  your hips and knees to lifting. Never bend at your waist to lift!
3. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions: Gardening involves repetitive motion that can cause pain and injuries from over use. It is important to vary your gardening activity rotating and mixing up chores lessening over use of the same muscle group.
4. Remember your posture: During gardening we tend to spend prolonged periods of time in awkward flexed postures. Try to use gardening kneeling pad to help maintain better posture.  Take frequent breaks to allow your body to stretch. Try using long handle tools which will lessen awkward posture and allow you to work in standing.

5. Stretching before and after gardening helps prevent injuries.  Before starting a new exercise routine (especially if you haven’t exercised in a while)  check with your physician to see if these exercises are safe for you.

The above safety measures will lessen the risk of injuries so you can enjoy the summer months gardening. Enjoy!



Do Stretching Programs Help Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Do Stretching Programs Help Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Research reinforces the importance of a comprehensive program that includes flexibility & strengthening programs in preventing WMSD’s. The implementation of a comprehensive ergonomic program that includes administrative and engineering controls should be completed. The goal of the ergonomic program will identify risk factors that contribute to WMSD’s.
Utilizing administrative controls identified in a ergonomic assessment is a good place to start in making positive changes in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Administrative controls can be accomplished with minimal budget impact.