Your back, and more specifically your lower back, is at the highest risk for injuries when lifting. Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other tissues that extend from your neck to your pelvis. Almost every movement you make requires your back to participate. This is even more true when it comes to lifting objects.
Most people, by now, have heard of bending with your knees while lifting. Good advice, but there is a lot more to it. Let’s start with bending with your knees and list a few other tips to remember while lifting objects.
BENDING WITH YOUR KNEES (AND YOUR HIPS)
If you only focus on bending your knees, you may forget to include bending at the hips too. Practice with a partner without lifting any weight so they can determine if you are bending at the knees and hips. You may think you are bending at the hips—but you may be bending your lower back. If you first practice lifting using correct posture without added weight, you will most likely be more conscious of using better posture as you do any lifting.
KEEP THE CHEST FORWARD
This will also help you bend at the hips as opposed to bending your lower back. When your chest is facing forward (not down or at an angle) your back stays relatively straight. As you go lower, bending at the hips, your knees will also automatically bend correctly.
AVOID TWISTING OR TURNING
If you need to face another direction, reposition yourself with your feet, but not by twisting or turning your body. By twisting and turning, you are straining a different set of muscles with different mechanics and these muscles just aren’t prepared to lift the weight you are currently carrying.
GET A GRIP
Make sure you have a secure grip on whatever you are carrying. Many times, the accidents happen when the object starts to slip or fall and not from the act of lifting and carrying. Make sure your hands are dry and you know how heavy the object is that you are lifting.
KEEP THE OBJECT CLOSE
This is a very good tip. When you keep the object close, it is closer to your center of gravity. This means it is not pulling you forward, risking injury to the lower back if it bends.
ASK A FRIEND TO HELP
There is no shame in asking for help in lifting an object. It is so much safer than trying to bare all the weight yourself.
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