You think nothing of it as you help a friend or parent with some spring cleaning by taking care of weeds, brush, debris, and old furniture. You load those items in the car, hold yard sales, make trips to the dump, and store items in the attic for next season. But, you don’t see the toy that has fallen in your path and you trip over it, causing a major tweak in your neck and back. Ouch! You cannot afford to stop what you’re doing; you only have the weekend to get the job done. You’ll be fine, you tell yourself. But, the pain lingers… and lingers. Soon you are visiting a chiropractor with no relief in sight for many weeks.
Slip and falls, and trips and stumbles rank high among the injuries that occur in and around our own homes. These types of injuries can be some of the most serious, and the time to heal is often much, much longer than anticipated regardless of how healthy and physically fit we are. How can these type of injuries be prevented?
At work, many employers offer mandatory classes for back and neck safely, particularly occupations that involve heavy lifting, twisting and carrying large items. But, we often don’t think to take these same precautions or training when we are just doing work around the home, and helping others with their needs. We need to remember that it is up to us to advocate for our own safety when it comes to proper lifting and carrying techniques to prevent slips and falls, and neck and back injuries.
The US Department of Health and Human Services discusses back safety and safe lifting practices, and cites the amount of dollars spent on treating the numerous back injuries that occur annually. At the workplace alone, back injuries are the number one injury due to carelessness, improper tools available for safe lifting, and demands of the job that prevent employees from wanting to ask for assistance.
The number one rule in lifting heavy items is to use your legs—not your back—to lift. This means squatting so that your arms are parallel to the floor—not perpendicular to the floor, which puts all pressure on your back. Instead, squat to lift, then push yourself up using your legs and glute muscles, keeping the load as close to your body as possible. A major cause of back injury is when balance is lost while lifting. This can occur when feet are too close together, or the load is too heavy, uneven or unstable.
If you find you have been injured on property that was not your own (whether at work or at the home of a friend or relative) due to improper conditions in the environment that led to your back or neck injury, you may want to seek the advice of a professional law firm to help you with your claim. This will involve assessing the conditions at the place of injury, investigating homeowners or property insurance, and obtaining the testimony of others who may have been present. Recovery and medical bills are costly, and having an attorney on your side who knows the process for seeking compensation will help the process move forward efficiently.