Manual handling the right way


Manual handling is very underestimated!  Yet it’s crucial to avoiding back pain and long term back damage.

Manual handling is a simple set of common sense points.

There are 4 major areas you need to address before lifting anything…

1) Item – you should answer ‘no’ to all of these…

a)  Is the item an awkward shape and size?

b)  Is the item too heavy for you to carry?

c)  Is the item unstable (does it ‘shift, is it ‘unpredictable’?)

d)  Do you really need more than one person to move this item?

e)  Is the item hazardous?  (hot, cold, sharp)

2) Task – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Is lifting from above the head or below the knees being avoided?

b)  Is twisting being avoided?

c)  Is the item manageable?

d)  Do you know your route and is it clear?

e)  Does someone else know what you’re doing and where you are?

3) Environment – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Have you got enough room to lift and move the item?

b)  If you’re on an uneven floor, do you know your route well?

c)  Is your route clear of obstacles?

d)  Indoors or outdoors – have you considered how your environment might change during the lift?

e)  Is the place you’re moving to, ready to receive the item?  

4) You – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Are you fit and able enough to lift the item?

b)  Are you correctly trained, if training is required?

c)  Do you have the correct lifting equipment, if equipment is required?

d)  Do you have the correct protective equipment, if equipment is required?

e)  Have you answered all the above questions correctly?

The above list sounds like lots to learn, however, it’s mostly common sense.  Sensible thinking equals sensible lifting.

The most important rule of all is this one – use your head… not your back. 

Thank you for reading


Feeling good – from top to toe!

Hello again,

Okay, here’s part two of my ‘Top to Toe’ posture advice.

This one is for when you’re standing –

Whether you’re standing in a bus queue or guarding Buckingham Palace – there’s a right and a wrong way to position every part of your body.

So, here’s the right way to stand, from ‘top to toe’…

Your head:  should be facing forwards. As with sitting, your neck muscles are only perfectly balanced when you’re holding your head straight. It is good, however, to roll your neck at intervals in order to stretch and warm the neck muscles.  This keeps them flexible and stops them from seizing up.

Your shoulders:  should be back and relaxed down. Rolling them forwards and ‘slouching’ when standing, rounds that lovely natural curve in your spine. This puts pressure on your disks, can cause nerve damage, and it will certainly lead to lower back pain.

Your chest:  should be ‘open’ (so, shoulder back!). You will get tired more quickly if your breath is restricted; don’t underestimate the effort required simply to stand.

Your hips:  should be facing forwards and be in line with your shoulders and heels. Your hips are a sturdy, mid-way, centre of balance. As with your neck, you can roll your hips at intervals in order to stretch and warm the muscles.

Your feet:  should be shoulder width apart to form a wide, sturdy base.  If your legs get tired when standing for a long time, move one foot slightly behind the other and shift your weight onto the back foot. Alternate to rest each leg in turn.

Everything matters – from top to toe

Thank you

Fatemeh the Physio

essential steps towards preventing back pain (part three of three)

Hello again.

I hope you’ve been doing my daily exercises as often as possible. Have you noticed the difference?

More than half of chronic back pain develop as a result of poor posture.

Follow these tips towards correcting your posture – this is my third and final instalment.

Remember to do these exercises as often as you can, every time you are in front of a mirror, every hour, long enough till it becomes a new habit.

19. Bring your right arm up in front of you, close your eyes and mirror it with your left arm, open your eyes and see if they are level.

20. Standing on one leg in front of a mirror and keeping your hips straight will help the strength and stability around your pelvis.

21. Stand up in front of a mirror with your legs wide open, gently tilt your hips side to side to mobilise your lower back.

22. In front of the mirror with your legs wide open, gently tilt your pelvis forwards and backwards, this reduces stiffness on your lower back.

23. Still in front of a mirror, lift your arms up above your head and imagine you’re pulling yourself upwards to give yourself a nice stretch.

24. Standing straight with legs open and arms on the wall to support you, gently circle your head around to mobilise your neck.

25. Standing straight back to the wall, keep the back of your head, shoulders, buttocks and heels attached to the wall for a good stretch.

26. Standing with your back on the wall, bring your arms up from the side (attached to the wall) to stretch your chest muscles.

27. Standing against a wall, use your eyes only to look down–keep the back of your head to the wall to stretch the back of your neck.

These simple exercises are to be performed on a regular basis to help to register your new posture in your memory.

I hope these have helped you.

Thanks for visiting.

Dr. Fatemeh

stress and the spine

This in an important one for most of us.

The NHS says that in any given year, at least one in five people in the UK visit their GP because of back pain. Shocked? Maybe you shouldn’t be. Have a little read of this.

Of course posture is huge factor in the development of spinal problems, but what about other contributors – like stress.

Stress is more than just a tight deadline or demanding boss – it’s a physical change in your body. Those who are more stressed are more susceptible to heart problems, ulcers, addiction and the list goes on. But what about back pain?

When you’re stressed your brain tells your body just how stressed you are and hormonal reactions result in the release of lactic acid. A person who is constantly under a lot of stress would have this reaction occurring daily, and the more stressed they become; the more lactic acid builds up.

The result of this is the stiffening of the muscles, especially the ones used most frequently – such as those supporting your spine.

The Spinal Touch technique is great at reversing these effects because it re-stimulates the muscles to ‘wake them back up’. Unfortunately, leaving it will just allow the situation to get worse.

Ensure that these muscles are being activated by doing the short exercises in on my DVD. This is a sure way to prevent stress induced back pain:

Treating Back Pain – Spinal Touch Testimonials

Thanks for dropping by.

Dr. Fatemeh

essential steps towards preventing back pain (part two of three)

Hello there.

Thanks for dropping in again.

This is my second installment of essential tips to help you prevent back pain by correcting your posture.

As we know, more than half of chronic back pains are resulted by a poor posture. Try doing these exercises as often as you can, every time you are in front of a mirror, every hour, long enough till it becomes a new habit.

10. Watch yourself in a mirror from the side, your ear should be above your shoulder girdle, is it there? Hold it for 10 seconds and relax

11. How’s the curve on your back when watching yourself from the side? Keep a natural curve on your lower back, hold it for 10 seconds and relax

12. Stand up straight in front of a mirror, keep your knees soft and facing forward, hold it there for 10 seconds and relax.

13. Stand up with feet open to the width of your shoulders to give yourself a wide base of support against the force of gravity.

14. When standing prolonged, make sure your shoulders and hips are in line with each other and your feet are open.

15. Keep your feet open to the width of your shoulders and slightly back and forward to give you the maximum support in standing.

16. Try to avoid leaning to one side when standing prolonged, stand up straight with your shoulders back.

17. When getting tired in standing prolonged, rest one foot on a step or stool and change leg after a while.

18. When standing with one foot on a step/stool, make sure your hips are level and you are not dropping one hip.

These simple exercises are to be performed on a regular basis to help to register your new posture in your memory – look out for our third and final instalment of essential tips to prevent back pain, I’ll post them soon.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Fatemeh

Prevention is better than cure – what does poor posture look like?

OK; another look at posture.

Back pain can truly make your life difficult – restricted motion and constant discomfort can be massively hindering. So it’s good to know that the prevention of back pain is so easy.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, back pain is most commonly the result of poor posture.

So how do you know if your posture is bad?

Here are some standard rules to go by – have a look at your side profile in a mirror and see which ones apply to you:

  • When you’re standing naturally – where is your head pointing? Is it dropping forward?
  • How is the shape of your back in general? Are you starting to develop a ‘hump’ just above the middle?
  • Where are your shoulders? Do they hunch forward or are they dropping down?

If you answered yes to any of these, then your posture might not be as good as we would hope.

Whilst they might not seem like a big deal now, it’s worth taking measure to prevent them from developing into anything more serious.

Try doing some of my simple exercises to rectify the problem:

Exercises to Relieve Back Pain.

Do call back soon.

Bye for now.

Dr. Fatemeh