How to Lift Safely to Avoid Back Pain
Lifting is a common cause of injury-related back pain. It is almost impossible to avoid lifting and carrying in everyday life, but proper lifting technique will help to reduce your risk of injury. When you’re lifting heavy objects bear in mind the following tips:
1. Tuck in your pelvis. By tightening your stomach muscles you can tuck in your pelvis, which will help your back stay in balance while you lift.
2. Feet shoulder width apart. Keeping a solid base of support will prevent further complications while lifting.
3. Bend your knees. Bend at your knees instead of at your waist. This helps you keep your centre of balance and lets the strong muscles in your legs do the lifting.
4. Hug the load. Try to hold the object you’re lifting as close to your body as possible, as you gradually straighten your legs to a standing position.
5. Avoid twisting. Twisting can overload your spine and lead to serious injury. Make sure your feet, knees and torso are pointed in the same direction when lifting.
6. Lift with your knees and not your back. When lifting and bending, it is important to maintain a neutral spine and lift with the leg and buttock muscles. This protects the spine by using the powerful leg muscles to do the work. It also lowers the stress on the disc, reducing the chance of injury.
There are four basic lifts:
Use:To lift larger and heavier object from low surfaces
Technique: Maintain an upright posture and bend the knees to lower yourself to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. Try keeping your heels on the ground as long as possible.
2. Genuflect or 1/2 kneeling
Technique: Maintain an upright posture and kneel down onto one knee, pull the object up to your belly, and stand.
3. Straight back bend
Use: To bend over objects such as a sink to brush your teeth or wash your hands, and for reaching.
Technique: You maintain a neutral spine and pivot forward from the hips (top of the legs), not the waist (i.e., low back). It often helps to bend the knees slightly.
4. Golfer’s lift
Use: To pick up light and small objects. This is good for getting canned goods out of a shopping cart.
Technique: You must have a stick, cane or other object to lean on in order to perform this lift. Lean one hand on your stick, maintain a neutral spine, and pivot forward from the hips, while allowing the opposite leg to raise up behind you.
Suffering from back pain, MOSAIC Health’s qualified Osteopaths can help. Contact us today.