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Help for a Healthy Back Get Moving Kentucky! Moving for Health Lesson Series The development of the HEEL program was made possible by Senator Mitch McConnell.

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Presentation on theme: "Help for a Healthy Back Get Moving Kentucky! Moving for Health Lesson Series The development of the HEEL program was made possible by Senator Mitch McConnell."— Presentation transcript:

1 Help for a Healthy Back Get Moving Kentucky! Moving for Health Lesson Series The development of the HEEL program was made possible by Senator Mitch McConnell with funds earmarked for the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Lexington, KY and budgeted through the CSREES/USDA Federal Administration.

2 Topics of Focus Posture Strength and Flexibility Sleeping Position Proper Lifting Workstation Set-up

3 Posture Bad posture can cause unnecessary strain on the back resulting in pain When standing: –Shoulders back and chest forward –Head is upright and straight –Stomach is tucked in, without tilting the pelvis forward or back –Natural stance and not rigid

4 Posture When seated : –Buttocks touch the back of the chair with body weight evenly distributed on both hips –Place a rolled-up towel at lower back to provide lumbar support and keep the curve of the spine –Knees bent at a right angle, keeping them at the same level or a little higher than hips –Feet flat on the ground

5 Strength and Flexibility Core strength is important for back health –Helps keep body in proper alignment –Aids in movements such as lifting, bending and reaching Adding just a few exercises to your day can help prevent back pain –Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each strengthening exercise –Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times –Continue to breathe normally throughout all the movements

6 Strength and Flexibility Curl-up or Partial Sit-up (for stomach, or abdominal, muscles)

7 Strength and Flexibility Pelvic Raise or Bridge (for lower back)

8 Strength and Flexibility Alternating Arm and Leg Raises (for lower back)

9 Strength and Flexibility Lower Back Stretch

10 Strength and Flexibility Cat Stretch (for lower back)

11 Sleeping Position Proper alignment while sleeping can help to keep the back healthy and relieve pain Follow these tips for sleeping position: –Lie on your side –Bend your knees –Place a pillow between your knees –Be sure your pillow supports your head and keeps your head and neck level

12 Proper Lifting “Lift with your legs, not your back” –Back muscles are small, can’t withstand the stress of lifting a heavy object even when at their strongest –Muscles of the legs are some of the largest and can be some of the strongest –Lifting with legs puts the stress on larger muscles that are more capable of handling a heavier load

13 Proper Lifting A few tips: –Position yourself close to the object –Bend at the hips and knees –Upper body should be upright and aligned as you squat down to lift –Push through your legs, using the leg muscles to stand as you lift –Tighten your abdominal (stomach) muscles to support your spine –Keep breathing normally

14 Proper Lifting –If an object is too heavy, get a partner to help you lift it –When turning while carrying a heavy object, move your feet; avoid twisting at the back to move an object –Bend at the knees and hips, tighten your abdominals and squat to lower the object

15 Workstation Set-up Pay attention to: –Chair –Computer monitor/screen –Keyboard –Mouse Sometimes referred to as ergonomics –relates to ensuring good body mechanics, or the proper position during movement, by changing your environment

16 Workstation Set-up Desk –About the same height as your elbows when you are sitting –No specific desk heights that recommended –A desktop 25 to 29 inches high is usually appropriate –Space under the desk is clear of objects with enough room for legs to rest comfortably –Keep the things you use most often within reach such as the phone, printer, stapler, books and documents

17 Workstation Set-up Chair –Sit up straight –Lower back against back of the chair –Shoulders in contact with the back of the chair –Feet flat on the ground –Chair should allow your upper and lower body to be at a 90-degree angle from the bend of the hip –Knees at same level as your hips

18 Workstation Set-up Chair continued –2 to 3 inches between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat –Arms at your sides –Avoid using the armrests to slouch –Avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time

19 Workstation Set-up Computer Monitor/Screen –Place monitor directly in front of you –Top of screen at eye level when you are sitting in the proper position –Monitor arms length away, or 20 to 26 inches –Angle of the top of the monitor at 10 to 20 degrees –Keep the screen clean and free of dust –Brightness on an appropriate setting and doesn’t hurt eyes when reading –Avoid positions or lighting that cause glare and eye strain

20 Workstation Set-up Keyboard and Mouse –Level and placement of keyboard Shoulders relaxed and arms resting at sides Sitting up straight without reaching or extending to reach the keyboard Elbows bent at a 90-degree angle with forearms parallel to the floor –Mouse Same level as keyboard Within close reach Avoid resting your hand on mouse when not using it

21 Summary Practice good posture and alignment when: –Sitting –Standing –Sleeping –Lifting Perform strength and flexibility exercises for the back at least 2-3 days a week Design and set-up work environment to promote a healthy back

22 Sources U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Research Services, Division of Safety, Ergonomics Maintain Your Curves, available online at The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center, Posture for a Healthy Back, available online at info/docs/0300/0359.asp?index=4485. Heyward, Vivan H., Advanced Fitness Assessment & Exercise Prescription, 3rd ed., Champaign: Human Kinetics, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Muscular Skeletal and Skin Disease, Health Topics, Handout on Health: Back pain available online at

23 Contact your local County Extension Office for more information. Visit the current HEEL Web-site at: This information is provided by the H.E.E.L. Program. Health Education through Extension Leadership (H.E.E.L.) is a partnership among the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

24 Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.


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