BODY MECHANICS, PATIENT HANDLING, AND POSITIONING
Section I. PROTECTING YOUR BACK
a. According to registered occupational therapist, Kathryn Ryan, in 1989, work-
related injuries in California reached "epidemic proportions" (over 370,000 injuries were
reported, with 100,000 back-related). Ryan says that the combined occurrence of back
pain at work and home means that "eight out of ten of us will suffer back pain sometime
in our lives".
b. Common injuries, such as acute sprains and strains, cause back injury.
Everyday stress and wear and tear can cause chronic muscle and joint strain that slowly
builds up. Actual case load and specific duties play a role in the incidence of back,
injury. But, the job of a radiologic technologist (RT) is somewhere in the middle as
compared to other jobs for susceptibility to back injury (somewhere between light office
work and heavy labor).
c. Most back injuries affect the discs, cushions of the spine, ligaments
connecting the vertebra, and muscles of the lumbar area. Bad habits like excessive
bending can weaken the wall of the back discs causing disc strain or bulge." The worst
problem, nucleus protrusion; can require surgery. Protrusion occurs when the disc
nucleus projects beyond the discs outer shell and onto the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Loss of bladder control and paralysis can result. Bad posture, poor body mechanics,
high stress, poor physical condition, and erratic sleep habits increase the risk of back
injury. Bad posture can cause you back pain. Soft mattresses do not support the spine.
Sleeping on your stomach can strain the neck and back
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
a. Avoiding Injury and Lawsuits. As stated earlier slip-and-fall injuries, which
account for malpractice suits in the radiology department, are one category of injury
which the radiologic technologist often has direct responsibility. You do not want to be
responsible for malpractice suits. So, you must do your best to prevent injury while
moving or lifting the patient, especially when the patient needs assistance. By
preventing injuries resulting from negligence, you will also help reduce the number of
malpractice suits in the radiology department.