Proper Lifting Techniques to Avoid Back Injuries

Proper Lifting Techniques to Avoid Back Injuries

With Christmas right around the corner, you may have just cut down your Christmas tree or picked one up from your local nursery.  The next step is lifting it up and tying it to your roof rack or securing it in your truckbed, either way lifting a Christmas Tree or other burly object can strain even the strongest of backs. It is in instances like that that knowing what are the proper lifting techniques to prevent back pain are very important. Keep these simple tips in mind when lifting to prevent an injury from occurring. Here are some Proper Lifting Techniques to Avoid Back Injuries:

1. Evaluate the Load and the Surrounding Environment
Can the load be handled safely?  If it looks too heavy or unstable, do NOT attempt the lift, even if you have 2 people.  The surrounding area should be free of obstructions and other hazards and allow for a proper footing in order to have the correct lifting technique.

2. Position Your Body Close to the Load
Move your body as close to the load as possible with your feet shoulder width apart creating a stable base of support.

3. Squat Down with Your Back Fully Straight
Bend with your knees keeping your low back straight and in neutral position.  Bend your knees slightly greater than 90 degrees, allowing your larger leg muscles to generate more force placing less strain on back muscles.
To keep your back straight, move your shoulders back and push your chest out. Tuck your chin in to help keep your back straight.  Keep the load as close to your stomach as possible.

4. Securely Grip the Load
Proper lifting techniques will allow you to have a secure grip on what you are lifting. Grip the load, keeping it close to your body. At this point, if you are still certain that you can safely handle the load and maintain a straight back, you can proceed.

5. Slowly Lift the Load with Your Legs
Using your legs and body weight continue to lift the load by straightening your legs.  Avoid twisting or side bending your trunk.  If you must change direction, take small steps and move slowly.  Ensure you continue to keep your back straight through the lift.
A lift should end with your legs fully straightened and the object resting between mid-thigh and shoulder height. Holding an object above shoulder height puts stress on the upper back, shoulders, and arms.

6. Set Down the Load
Slowly lower the load to the ground or desired height limiting trunk rotation and the amount you flex your hips.

Now that you know what the proper lifting techniques are, with these small simple steps, you can lift objects of all shapes and sizes limiting the risk of injury to your back.  If you would like to start treatment today, Direct Access allows to you to start treatment from a physical therapist without a prescription or referral. Give us a call today @ 201-773-8851 or fill out our contact form today.