Monday, October 18, 2010

Technique for Lifting Heavy Objects

Many back problems occur not because the object is too heavy but rather because of the way it was lifted.
Most people go through life leaning forward to lift ... and  the spine takes the full brunt of the force!

It doesnt matter how young or old you may be. Its important everyone uses safe techniques to prevent strain to your back.

Here are a few things to remember next time you offer to move something.
  • The first step to lifting a heavy object safely is to get as close to it as you can. Ideally, the object should be underneath you.

  • Next, take a wide stance. Legs should be wider than shoulders, with your weight anchored firmly into the ground or floor.

  • Try different foot positions until you find the one that feels the most stable and comfortable. Try putting your left foot front, then your right. Or keep them parallel, but widen your stance. Once you have found your comfort level, get ready to use that position.

  • Bend your knees and lift the object from underneath. You will be using the muscles in your hips and legs to do the heavy work. Avoid bending at the waist, which can cause you to injure a disk or strain your back.

  • If you are lifting an unwieldy object, like a heavy bag of soil, get someone to help you. Taking a chance on lifting it is not worth the risk to your back.

  • A trick for making sure you're lifting objects safely: Keep a long spine. Think about a line that goes from your head through your spine all the way down to your coccyx bone. Your body should stay in that position when lifting.
  • One way to prepare your spine and find "the line" easily is to do the cat-cow yoga stretch. It will take you through arching and rounding your spine, warming it up and helping you to become more aware of the position of your back.

  • Keeping your arms close to your body can help ensure that you're lifting an object safely. This will help keep the lifting efficient, helping you avoid shoulder, arm and back strain.

  • When lifting your object, keep your knees in line with your toes. This will help you avoid knee strain, now that you are using hips and knees instead of your back. Don't let your knees drop inward or outward -- this will help your body stay aligned during the movement.