Whether you are young or old, lifting a heavy or bulky object improperly can injure your back. These injuries are likely to damage the soft tissues that support the lower spine and connecting muscles and ligaments. Unfortunately, this damage can lead to severe pain and immobility that can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional well-being. Thankfully, learning the proper techniques to lift objects can reduce your risk of a back injury. Before lifting and carrying a box, piece of furniture, or other heavy or bulky object, use this guide to learn how to complete the task in a safe, effective manner.
Use Your Hips
One of the most important things to remember when lifting is to lead with your hips and not your legs or back.
Bend your hips and keep your shoulders in line with the hips when lifting. This will prevent you from twisting your body, which can lead to a back injury.
If and when you need to change directions after lifting while carrying the heavy object, move your hips first. This will allow your shoulders to follow the hips, reducing any twisting and turning that can stress the spine.
Most people feel bending the knees while lifting will keep you safe, but you also need to push your chest out to keep your spine in an aligned position. If you bend your knees only, your back will automatically curve, causing tension in your upper and lower spine that may result in a permanent injury.
Secure good posture while using your hips, bending your knees, AND pushing your chest out.
Use Your Weight
Your total weight will serve as your body's center of gravity. Using this center will help you lift in a safe and efficient manner that will not cause stress or injury to your spine or neck.
The further the object is away from your body's center, the more difficult it will be to lift. A box full of books or other heavy items held out at arm's length will increase stress on your shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, and back, reducing your ability to carry it a distance. In addition, the stress on your body will strain your muscles, ligaments, and joints, leading to an injury and severe pain.
Hold the box as close to your body as possible, using your weight to lift and carry the box safely.
Patience and knowledge will help you lift and transport heavy, bulky items without injury and pain. If you are already suffering from back pain, be sure to consult your doctor before carrying any excess weight.