Over one million workplace injuries are back-related and often caused by improper or unsafe lifting techniques. Lifting a heavy object incorrectly can cause herniated discs, muscle strains, and nerve impingements. Thus, learning the proper way to raise heavy objects in the workplace is crucial to avoid back strain or pain.
To properly lift an object from the ground, without jeopardizing your back:
- Keep your feet wide. Position your feet just over hip-width apart, with one foot slightly forward.
- Squat down toward the object. Do not hunch the back down to reach the object.
- Keep your core contracted to protect your lower back and maintain posture. Your shoulders should be down and back. Careful not to arch the back as you lift.
- Lift the object from underneath, holding it as close to your body as possible.
- Push up through the heels, straightening through the hips and knees to stand back up.
- Don’t turn or twist when holding the heavy object. Use your feet to change the direction that you are walking in.
- Don’t lift a heavy object above shoulder height, especially if you have had previous back pain.
- Don’t lift more than you can handle. Check the weight before lifting. Making sure the contents of the object are evenly distributed to prevent imbalances.
- To set the object back down, squat down and keep your back straight, with your core contracted. Go slow. Fast movements can leave you susceptible to injury.
- If you are sliding an object, push instead of pull. This movement will allow you to use your body weight and keep your spine neutral, as opposed to putting your back at risk via pulling the object.
Using simple cues, such as the ones outlined above, can prevent weeks or possibly months of pain caused by incorrect lifting. For more information, book an appointment with our therapists at Aquafit Physiotherapy. If you have injured your back through improper lifting, our therapists will be more than happy to get you back on track and provide you with further education and practice regarding proper lifting technique, as well as strategies to prevent future injury. Call and book your appointment today!