One of the main causes of lower back injury is lifting objects incorrectly. So, our physiotherapists have put together a list of things to think about when lifting.
Follow these tips on safe lifting to prevent injury and avoid low back pain (these will apply to any object you lift, whether it is heavy or light):
1.Think before you lift: Plan the lift. Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Remove any obstructions.
2. While lifting, keep the load close to the body, at waist-height as much as possible to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the back, and keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. Before lifting, try to move your body as close to the object as possible, or carefully slide the object towards the body if required.
3. Adopt a stable position. Your feet should be apart, with one leg slightly forward to provide balance. Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain a stable posture.
4. Ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear (avoid thongs or high heels). Wear safety clothes/footwear if required.
5. Ensure you have a good hold on the load. Where possible/appropriate, hug the load close to the body. This should result in a stronger lift than gripping the load with the hands only.
6. Don’t bend your back when lifting. Bend at the knees and hips at the start of the lift. Use your leg muscles (glutes, quads, hamstrings) and activate your core (pelvic floor and lower abdominals) prior to lifting to avoid straining the back muscles. Pilates is a great way to learn hip/back dissociation for this movement.
7. Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially if the back is bent. Keep your shoulders level, facing the same direction as your hips. Move your feet as you turn to avoid twisting the spine.
8. Keep your head up and look forward (not down at the load) once it is held securely.
9. Move smoothly. Don’t make sudden movements, such as a “lift and catch” manoeuvre.
10. Know your limits. Don’t lift or handle more than you can easily and safely manage.
11. If you need to adjust your position or grip, lower the load down first.
You live in Australia and you need advice on lifting or have an injury due to lifting? Book in to see one of our physiotherapists in the studio, and we’ll get you back on your feet and moving well.