Proper Lifting Techniques to Avoid Lower Back Pain
By Dr Todd P. Sullivan
Many times patients arrive at my chiropractic office in Springfield, VA with lower back pain that presented itself after lifting a heavy object. Using incorrect lifting techniques can cause injury resulting in sudden and severe pain. Without a doubt, this type of injury can almost always be prevented if proper lifting techniques had been used.
Unless your line of work requires a lot of lifting such as nursing, warehouse work, retail stocking, etc. it is entirely possible that you have not had the opportunity to learn how to lift objects in a way that will protect your back. Hopefully, if you are in a line of work in which a lot of lifting is required, you have been trained on how to protect your back when lifting. For the rest of you, this article will explain the proper way to lift heavy objects to avoid injury.
Never bend over at the waist to lift something; in fact you should make it a habit not to bend over at the waist at all because this will put unnecessary pressure on your lower back. Minimize the risk of injury and damage using the following lifting technique:
· Immediately before you lift and right after you are done lifting you want to stand upright and bend backward five or six times. This ensures that any distortion in the curve of your lower back is worked out.
· Stand close to the object you are going to lift. Don't have your feet together; use a wider stance for balance and support.
· Bend at the knees, keeping your back straight, until you can comfortably get your hands under the object.
· Keep the object as close to your body as you can so you are not extending your reach. Extending your reach will put pressure on your lower back even if you are bent at the knees.
· Lean back slightly, this will help with your balance. Straighten up using the muscles in your legs to lift yourself up and using a smooth, steady motion.
· If the object is very heavy, lift it to your knees and rest it there before straightening up.
· To turn with the load in your arms, use your feet. In other words, do not twist your torso.
Of special concern to me are those who have already developed recurring back problems. It is my practice to always advise these patients to seek help when lifting. I am well aware that this is not always possible. If this is the case for you, it is even more important that you develop a proper lifting technique.
In addition to using a proper lifting technique, it is also important to work on your core muscles such as your abdominals and gluteals to develop a strong lower back. Consciously implementing this type of lifting technique and developing a strong core has the potential to make a pronounced difference in your life particularly if you suffer from chronic lower back pain.
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