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watching my back

hey all,

I am enrolling in an EMT course next semester. As i understand, the ER work can involve lots of lifting, just like nursing. A couple years ago, i was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5 S1, with some mild disc space narrowing. Not really a severe injury, i kept active and playing sports. It still bothers me a little when I dont use good mechanics, but so does everybody's.

So I figured I would take some anti-inflammatories and wear a back brace when im working, to make sure I keep my back from going out. I guess what im asking is this; if i can physically handle the demands of being an EMT, should I be good to go in nursing (ER, ICU or others)?

what are some other ways to protect the back (other than back braces)? Should i do morning exercises, stretch, etc?

P_RN, ADN, RN

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

Oh my goodness that's a lot of questions!

I can virtually guarantee you that I always followed good body mechanics and lifting. I started Nursing school at age 17. At age 55 I had my first back injury......it was a doozy. I even wrote a small part of a chapter of a book about Back Injured Nurses. Ideally we should never have to worry or lift.......

I have seen 20 year old college and professional athletes herniate disks and I have seen 75 year old weight trainers who never had an injury.

As far as back braces; are you talking about those elastic black belts you see guys at the Home Depot wearing? I don't think they have been shown to work at all.......JMHO

I can't say whether you would like Nursing if you like EMT work. I never had a desire to be an EMT-always wanted to be a Nurse.

Personally, I do a lot of yoga and pilates. Get a DVD if you don't want to go to a class. I like a combo of both pilates and yoga and ideally you shouldn't need any special equipment. I find both activities to be excellent for core strength and conditioning (abs and back muscles) as well as good posture and balance. I noticed a huge difference in how often my back hurt after starting this exercise regimen. Good luck!!

Please everyone do protect your back!

RN for 21 years and because of improper lifting for all that time,I herniated L4-L5. Surgury last June and just got back to work on "light duty" in September.

Nerve damage resulted in Caudal Equina Syndrome (CES). Loss of motor control of lower extremities, bowel and bladder control. Don't risk it, at any age you are to young to be wearing depends and pushing a walker.

Remember the body mechanics that you have all been told and do not lift by yourself!

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