By Emma Maaranen
I recently moved into a new home, and although I hired professional movers, I did a fair amount of lifting myself. It is so easy to injury your lower back when lifting and moving heavy or odd shaped objects, but a few simple tips on lifting safely can go a long way to ensure your spine stays safe.
We put our lower back at risk when we lift heavy objects by bending at the waist. This becomes exponentially more risky if the object is held away from the body and/or if the lifting motion involves twisting.
Here are some guidelines:
1.) To lift a heavy object like a moving box, squat as close to the box as you can. Move your feel shoulder-width apart, and lift the box by straitening the knees and tightening your core. Keep the box as close to your body as possible, keep your knees slightly bent while you move and do not lean back as you walk forward! If you need to move the box to one side, avoid twisting your body. Instead, shuffle your feet around until they are directed at where you plan to set down the box. Do not forget good body mechanics when you put the box down; reverse the lifting motion!
2.) If you are placing the box on a shelf or on something above waist height, move as close as possible to the shelf. To get more support, take a wide stance with one foot in front of the other, and do not lean forward or extend your arms while holding the box. Lift the box chest high, keeping your elbows at your side, and push the box up onto the shelf.
3.) Lifting an object with a handle, such as a bag of groceries, to your side can put excessive stress on your lower back. Stand alongside the bag, bend at your knees, grasp the handle and straighten up preventing the back from bending to the side or rotating.
4.) Finally, if the object to be moved is really heavy, odd shaped or the bulk of the weight of the object will be away from you when you move it, get a friend to help you!
Following these simple lifting principals will reduce the wear and tear on you back, make it easier to lift and carry heavy items, and keep you from needing to come into Focus Bodywork to have us work on your sore lower back. (Great for you, bad for us!)