Avoid more time spent in physical therapy by making sure you practice proper lifting techniques
Lifting heavy objects could be part of your daily occupation or something you only do every blue moon while rearranging the house or in the midst of moving. Regardless of frequency, however, we all wind up lifting heavy objects at one time or another, and the dangers associated with it are just as present every time you lift.
Utilizing proper lifting technique is essential for keeping the back safe and avoiding any injuries or chronic pain that can result when you’re not smart about lifting.
Back pain, especially in the lower region of the back, is one of the most common conditions seen by physical therapists. Though low back pain can result from a number of different factors, simply lifting something the wrong way can be a main cause of immediate and future back issues. The risk of injury to the lower back is highest when common mistakes such as lifting with back muscles, bending at the waist or twisting the back are performed, and these actions can lead to a back strain, sprain or a herniated disc.
Guidelines for lifting properly are generally considered common sense, but some people forget or fail to acknowledge these pointers due to being in a rush or various other reasons. Of chief importance is maintaining proper spinal position, or a neutral spine, while lifting, which keeps the back in its normal shape. The following is a list of primary pointers to keep in mind when lifting anything heavy to keep your back safe and avoid an injury or chronic pain:
- Before you lift, plan your task: determine how heavy the object is, where you’re moving it and how you’ll maintain good form while lifting it
- Make sure the load you’re lifting is manageable; if it’s not, ask someone to help you, or push, pull or slide the object whenever possible
- Place the load directly in front of you, bring it to your chest, and move/hold objects as close to your center of gravity as possible
- Keep your back straight and never twist it while lifting
- Bend at the hips and knees (not the waist) and use your leg muscles, NOT YOUR BACK MUSCLES, to lift the load
- Don’t hold your breath; breathe throughout the entire process of lifting
- Tighten your middle back and buttocks to lock your back into position
- Don’t perform repetitive, jerky or sustained lifts; take your time and if you get fatigued, take a break before lifting anything else
By following these tips carefully, you’re doing your part to keep your back safe, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be invincible. If you do experience any back pain, while lifting or otherwise, stop the task immediately and rest to determine how serious the problem is. If pain persists, visit Arrow Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation LLC at any of our three locations in Edison, Woodbridge or Union, NJ. Call us at 732-494-0895 for more information or to schedule an appointment.