Approximately 50% of outpatient physical therapy patients are treated for lower back pain. Lifting objects the correct way can help prevent injuries to the arms, legs, and lower back.
Here are some tips for when you are thinking about lifting anything from the floor:
- Planning – Know what you are doing before lifting
If you are planning to move something heavy from one place to another, make sure that you have a plan! Is the path clear? Do you need someone to help you? If so, are both of you aware of what the plan is? This step will help you from prolonged periods of having to hold a heavy object.
- Keep the object as close to your body as possible
Having to reach out further than you need to will put more strain on the lower back. Getting close to the object and having a firm hold on it will help you become a stronger, more stable lifter!
- Spread your feet shoulder width apart
Doing this will create a solid base of support and make you more stable when lifting. If your feet are too close together, or too far apart it will hinder your movement.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight
This step is one of the most important steps to lifting properly! Take a few moments to practice the movement before actually lifting anything. Focus on keeping your spine straight and bending your knees to lower yourself to the ground.
- Tighten your stomach muscles
This will help stabilize your spine and prevent you from losing a good lifting form when picking something up.
- Lift with your legs, NOT your back
Your legs are strong, let them do the work! Remember to bend at your knees to lower yourself to the ground, not your back.
- If an object is too heavy, get help
Don’t be ashamed to ask someone to help! It’s a lot easier to ask for help than to live with lower back pain.