Exerting too much force on your back may cause injury. The good news is that you can avoid back pain and injuries by paying attention to what causes them and focusing on prevention. View the Mayo Clinic's Proper Lifting Techniques slideshow for a visual representation of how to safely lift an object. Here are safeguards to keep in mind when you lift:
Start in the best position
Before lifting, think through your task first. Decide where you’ll place the load and how you’ll get there. Remember not to bend your waist or lock your legs. Instead, plant your feet firmly on the ground, standing as close to the load as possible. Kneel down, resting one knee on the ground. Lift the object from between your legs and hold it close to your body.
Have a leg to stand on
Your leg muscles are some of the strongest muscles in your body — use them to lift the load. Keep your back as straight as possible and tighten your abdominal muscles to help support your spine.
Keep the load close at hand
When you are standing and ready to move, hold the load close to your body. This will reduce the strain on your lower back. Avoid turning or twisting while holding the load. Turn by pivoting your feet, not your back. Also, avoid lifting heavy loads above your waist.
Always ask for help if an object is too heavy and use equipment or tools to assist when available. And next time you get ready to pick up a load, give your back the lift it deserves with these practical, back-saving ideas.
Stay Ahead of the Curve for a Healthy Back
Your back is formed with three natural curves in an S-shape. When these curves are aligned properly, your ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line. Without support from strong, flexible muscles, your back loses its three natural curves. Poor posture can lead to pain and serious injury.
Aerobic exercise, combined with healthy eating and maintaining your ideal weight, can help build the muscles that support your back and eliminate any unnecessary strain. Think about making some new lifestyle choices today to help maintain your curves for a healthier, pain-free back.
Sources: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; National Institutes of Health; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas