Bending forward and picking up objects puts a lot of strain on your lower back. Even though lifting in the correct way may take a little longer, you will successfully avoid injury to your lower back.
If your job entails lifting all day it is vital to strengthen the small support muscles that lie right near the spine (the core muscles). To achieve contraction of these muscles, pull your belly button in towards your spine and up towards your ribs. Try to hold this contraction with breathing normally for 30 – 60 seconds. A very good way to strengthen your core muscles is to join a Pilates class.
Pointers to remember when lifting objects:
- Keep your back upright.
- Stand with your feet apart and one leg just in front of the other.
- Contract your core muscles. (This provides support to your spine, preventing any injury)
- Bend your knees and hips, keeping your back straight.
- Keep the object close to your torso.
- And lift straight up, don’t twist your back
- When placing the object in its new position, bend at the knees and hips again, keeping the object close to your torso.
- If you are lifting objects repetitively it is important to take regular breaks and stretch out your back regularly.
- Do NOT try to lift a heavy object on your own, rather wait for assistance.
- If you are needing to move a piece of furniture, sit on the floor and push the furniture away from you with your legs, your thigh muscles will take most of the strain and save your back from injury.
Written by: Dr Helen Schlebusch