Lifting heavy objects incorrectly is one of the most common causes of back pain and injury. If your job involves a lot of manual handling you’ll already know the importance of looking after your back, but for many of us the techniques needed to minimise injury remain a mystery.
These lifting methods are not rocket science, but they do require a little more thought than we often give to the task. Let’s take a look at a few simple routines that can improve the way that we move larger items around.
Keep the object close to your body
If the item that you are lifting is small but heavy, it’s important to hold it close to your body whenever possible. This will help you keep the object a lot more stable than if it was being held away from you, giving you a stronger lift overall whilst maintaining balance. When carrying heavy goods in this fashion it will put a lot less strain on your back which will obviously lower the risk of injury. Another tip is to make sure that you have a good grip on the object before you start to lift it.
Keep the correct posture
The way that you stand when lifting is one of the most crucial aspects of correct lifting in order to avoid back pain and injury. Your feet should be shoulder width apart as this will give you a stable base to lift from. You may also find it more difficult to move if your feet are too far apart, so aligning them with your shoulders is a great tip to remember. When you do start to move, you should only take small steps forward.
Bend your knees
When you bend to lift the object you should do so from your knees, rather than leaning over at your waist. When you are bending down you need to concentrate on keeping your back straight. You may also benefit from taking a deep breath before lifting, while at the same time tightening the muscles in your stomach. This can help keep your back in a good position for lifting and it will also prevent any unnecessary force being placed on your back.
Lift with your legs
The muscles that you have in your legs are much stronger than those that you have in your back, and this strength can be used to take the pressure of your back when lifting. Bend your knees to lower to the ground and push up using the muscles in your leg. If you look straight ahead while doing this, then that may help you to keep your back straight too.
Ask for help if needed
If the item that you wish to move is too heavy for you to lift by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you carry it. Trying to manage a heavy appliance or box yourself can lead to you straining the muscles in your back which may cause an injury. You may also need to ask for help if the object is an awkward shape and you are unable to get a good grip on it.
Following these steps to ensure that you lift heavy items correctly can help you to avoid any long term problems with your back, especially if it is something that you do on a regular basis. You may find that after you have used this technique for lifting a few times that it becomes habit, and before long you will be lifting this way every time.
Back injuries can be extremely painful and can restrict your movements for quite a long period. Therefore, every possible precaution should be taken to try and prevent such an injury occurring in the first place.