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Lifting Heavy Objects from the Floor? Proper Lifting Techniques

We have all faced the need to lift a heavy object and have probably done so without injury. Did you know that you can cause serious injury if you use improper lifting techniques? Lifting a heavy object incorrectly can lead to acute muscle or ligament strains that can last for only short periods or linger longer. These strains are small little tears in the actual muscles of the lower back. As you can imagine, pain relief is a good thing. So how do we avoid injuring our backs when lifting heavy objects?


Back pain

Types of Back Injury

While back injuries can be common, is still a good idea to try to avoid them. Improper lifting of heavy objects can lead to back injuries such as:

  • Muscle injury: Lifting a heavy object in a wrong manner can put excess strain on the lower back muscles. This is the most common type of back injury associated with lifting. These injuries usually heal over time, but can be painful even when breathing. The use of heat packs and ice packs can alleviate back pain.
  • Disc injury: In between our vertebrae are discs that act as shock absorbers between bones of our spine. Improperly lifting heavy objects can strain and twist the lower back to the point that one or more of the discs becomes herniated or bulging. When these discs impinge nerves, pain can radiate through the lower back into the legs. This injury can lead to the need for physical therapy or even surgery.
  • Joint injury: Our backs have a good deal of bones that meet other bones and when we lift improperly these can become locked. Proper lifting techniques can help somebody lifting heavy objects to avoid joint injury.
     
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Medline Accu-Therm Reusable Cold Packs

Core CorFit Sacroiliac Back Support Belt
 

Core MicroBeads Moist Heat Packs
 

Steps to avoid Back injury

Okay, we have established that heavy objects lifted in an improper manner can lead to back injuries. So what steps can we take to avoid these injuries? There are several lifting techniques that can help you lift heavier objects safely and they include:
 

Lifting Techniques
 

  1. Start with a Wide Base: As with building a home, a solid foundation is paramount. This also applies to proper lifting. Your feet should be at shoulder width apart in order to avoid any instability during lifting.
  2. Bend Your Knees: You should reach down by bending your knees as opposed to your back. This allows you to lift with your legs and not your lower back muscles. By lifting with your leg muscles, strain is reduced on your lower back. This applies not only to lifting something up, but also placing something down.
  3. Keep Your Chest Forward: Proper posture keeps everything in line and this goes for your upper body during heavy lifting. By keeping your chest in a forward and upright position, you can be sure not to inadvertently tip forward and put strain on your lower back.
  4. Lift Slowly: Lifting in a slow manner avoids any sudden, jerky movements that can put undue strain on your lower back muscles. Bend your knees and then slowly rise to a standing position and the stress on the back is minimized.
  5. Keep Your Load Close: By keeping your heavy object close to your body, you minimize the risk of leaning forward and putting strain on your lower back.
  6. Don’t Lift Over Your Shoulders: Lifting something up over your shoulders can lead to instability and increase the potential for injury due to falling or straining your lower back. Lifting something over your head is just the opposite of creating a stable base.
  7. Change Directions with Your Feet: When changing directions while carrying a heavy object, you should do so with your feet and not twist your torso. This is when your lower back muscles are susceptible to extra strain and torque which can lead to injury.
  8. Use a Back Brace: The use of a back brace can help support lower back muscles during lifting of a heavy load. This added support can help minimize the stress our spine and back muscles can experience during heavy lifting.
     

Using proper lifting techniques can help minimize pain and lower back injury. The old saying is slow and steady wins the race and this also applies to proper lifting. Never rush to get the job done quickly and use the correct techniques and you can minimize the risk of back injury!!

 

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