At Chiropractic Balance poor lifting technique is one of the most common causes we hear about when it comes to low back injuries.
The good news is that these injuries are preventable as your body and spine are designed to be able to lift, but we need to understand how to lift properly in order to significantly reduce your chance of doing damage.
What is the secret to avoiding lifting injuries?
The secret to avoid lifting injuries is keeping the ideal alignment of your spine whilst carrying a load. Ideal alignment is when your spine is straight when looking at it from the front, and it has three natural curves when looking from the side.
Common injuries from lifting may include:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Hand and wrist pain
Any of these injuries may occur as a result of lifting improperly, or lifting may simply exacerbate a current problem.
Common Improper Lifting Techniques
- Leaning over object, not keeping curves in spine
- Twisting once carrying load
- Load far away from body
- Lifting heavy load overhead
- Using back muscles to lift
Safe Lifting Technique
The safe lifting technique is simple but effective:
- Stand close to the load and center yourself over it with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles as they will act as a back support.
- Maintain your back’s natural curves by keeping your spine upright, bending at your knees & hips to squat down to the floor.
- Pull the load close to you and grasp it firmly.
- As you rise with the load use your strong leg muscles not your back muscles, to power the lift. Raising your chin while lifting will also help your back maintain its natural curves.
Things to Avoid
- Lifting and twisting at the same time. Instead, take small steps with your feet turning until you are in the correct position
- Working while fatigued
- Rushing when lowering load. You can just as easy injure your back putting something down. Lower using technique in reverse.
- Reaching overhead
- Lifting alone when you encounter a heavy load. Ask for help or use mechanical support.
What if you already have an injury from lifting?
- For low back injuries check out our self help guide for immediate relief
- You may have strained muscles or sprained ligaments that have caused inflammation and poor movement of your spine. At Chiropractic Balance we specialise in assessing the movement and alignment of your spine and the function of your muscles. A chiropractic examination may reveal the cause of your low back pain.
No matter how light or heavy the load is, always following the safe lifting technique gives you the best chance of reducing back injuries. If you still have challenges even when using the safe lifting technique, get an assessment from your Chiropractor to find out the cause of your problem.