Caregiver Handout on Using Proper Body Mechanics and Back Saving Techniques

Guidelines for Using Proper Body Mechanics and Back Saving Techniques:

  • Use proper body mechanics when lifting:
    • Keep the object close to you.
    • Keep your knees bent.
    • Use your leg muscles instead of back muscles as much as possible.
    • Keep a straight, neutral spine (not arched or curved forwards or backwards).
    • Place feet shoulders width apart.
    • Keep heels firmly planted on the ground.
    • Consider weight and assistance level needed. Don’t attempt more than you can handle.
    • Avoid twisting or rotating your trunk. Use pivots or steps instead of rotating and twisting.
    • Avoid combining movements, such as rotating and bending at the same time.
  • Consider the following before trying to lift heavy objects:
    • Your medical precautions and physical limitations
    • Time needed for safe lifting and moving
    • Environmental barriers or opportunities (remove all clutter, and leave enough room for the two of you to move freely)
  • Common causes of injury:
  • Lack of preparation/ planning
  • Using improper body mechanics, such as twisting of the trunk
  • Environmental complications (ie. slick floors, inappropriate shoes)
  • Fear of falling
  • Not asking for help when it’s needed
  • Being in a hurry
  • Helpful equipment for transfers:
    • Sliding boards
    • Walkers
    • Grab bars
    • Trapeze bar
    • Various types of lifts

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