Back injuries can be debilitating, causing pain and discomfort that affect your daily life. One of the common causes of back injuries is improper lifting techniques. Whether you’re moving heavy boxes, lifting weights at the gym, or simply picking up your child, using the right lifting techniques can significantly reduce the risk of back injuries. Here are some essential tips to keep your back safe and healthy.
1. Bend Your Knees, Not Your Back:
When lifting, always bend your knees and keep your back straight. Squat down by bending your hips and knees, not your waist. This position helps distribute the weight evenly across your legs, reducing the strain on your back muscles.
2. Maintain a Stable Base:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain a stable base of support. Having a solid foundation enhances your balance and makes it easier to control the lift.
3. Get Close to the Object:
Move as close as possible to the object you intend to lift. The closer you are to the object, the less strain it puts on your back when you lift it.
4. Use Your Legs:
Your leg muscles are the strongest in your body. Use the power of your legs to lift the object. Push through your heels as you straighten your hips and knees to lift the load, keeping it close to your body.
5. Avoid Twisting:
Twisting while lifting can cause serious back injuries. If you need to change direction, pivot with your feet and avoid twisting your torso. Your feet should always point in the direction you are moving.
6. Don’t Overload Yourself:
Know your limits. If something is too heavy for you to lift alone, ask for help. Overloading yourself not only increases the risk of injury but also puts unnecessary strain on your back muscles.
7. Lift Smoothly:
Avoid jerky or sudden movements when lifting. Lifting smoothly and steadily reduces the stress on your back muscles and spine.
8. Use Lifting Aids:
If you frequently lift heavy objects, consider using lifting aids such as dollies, carts, or forklifts. These tools can significantly reduce the strain on your back.
9. Take Breaks and Rest:
If your job involves repetitive lifting, make sure to take regular breaks to rest your muscles. Overworking your muscles without adequate rest can lead to fatigue and increase the risk of injuries.
10. Exercise Regularly:
Engage in exercises that strengthen your core muscles, including your back, abdomen, and legs. A strong core provides better support to your spine, reducing the risk of back injuries.
By following these lifting techniques, you can safeguard your back from injuries and enjoy a pain-free, active lifestyle. Remember, taking care of your back is essential for your overall well-being, so practice these techniques in your daily activities and protect your back for a healthier future. If you have experienced an injury due to improper lifting techniques or would like to be evaluated by one of our clinicians please call (309) 691-7775 and schedule an appointment today.
Author: Andrew Kitterman, PA-C of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute