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How to Properly Lift

At one point or another, every one of us has probably gone to lift or move something heavy, only to feel pain in our backs. Improper lifting is one of the most common causes of back pain, whether it’s due to a minor muscle strain that clears up overnight or a more severe problem that involves the joints, discs, or nerves.

Of course, the solution to this problem is not to avoid lifting things altogether, but to learn how to lift with the proper form, so your body is supported in the ways it needs to avoid injury.

There are many dangers to lifting improperly. Muscle strains (small tears in the muscle) are some of the most common injuries. However, other problems may develop if you lift improperly, such as injuring the joints and nerves, or bulging/herniating discs.

The first thing to remember while lifting is to only lift things you feel comfortable with. If you have to strain and push yourself to lift something, it’s probably too heavy for you, and you won’t be able to maintain proper form during the lift. When going to lift something, always avoid bending at the hips, rounding or arching your back, and pulling with your back. These mistakes are some of the easiest ways to strain and injure your back.

The most important tip when lifting is to bend at the knees into a squat position and keep the spine straight. This puts the weight of the lift onto your legs, not your back. When attempting to lift, place your feet shoulder-width apart firmly on the ground. Bend your knees to squat and pick up the object, focusing on keeping your spine as straight as possible. Tightening your abs and pushing with your legs will help you maintain this posture.

Keep the object close to your body with a firm hold and maintain proper balance of the object in your hands. Stand up slowly – don’t jerk upwards too fast. Make sure the lift is a smooth, slow, and controlled motion until you are standing tall again.

You don’t want to twist while lifting the object, either. Stand straight up, then pivot with your feet to walk where you need to. Twisting will put more pressure on your discs and can result in a disc herniation. When you need to put the object down, follow the same pattern of lifting movements in reverse. Stand firmly and squat, bending your knees to gently place the object on the ground. Avoid dropping the object quickly or bending with your hips and back.

Even with proper lifting, back injuries and pain can still develop. Plus, injuries happen easier if your spine is out of alignment prior to lifting. Being out of alignment causes decreased mobility, and a higher chance of injury. If you’re experiencing back pain, give us a call or schedule on our scheduling app!


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