How to Lift a Heavy Object without Injuring Your Back – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
The human spine is an amazing structure comprised of 33 small bones called vertebrae, which are separated by cushioning discs and held together by ligaments. The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other and, when aligned, their central openings form a long canal that houses and protects the spinal cord. Serving as the body’s “information super highway,” the spinal cord relays signals that control movements and convey sensations to and from the brain.
Every time you lift a heavy object, you place stress on these intricate spinal components. Over the years, this type of continual wear and tear can cause the intervertebral discs to deteriorate, which can result in pain and other symptoms. Whether or not you have back pain already, it’s important to exercise care when lifting. Improper lifting methods can create or worsen discomfort, injuries, and chronic conditions. In fact, no one is immune from spinal injury, so even if you have a strong back, it’s always best to follow safe lifting guidelines. You can help protect your spine by using the following techniques:
- Before casually picking up any load – no matter how lightweight it appears to be – stop and consider the best way to lift it. If you think you might need assistance, ask for it.
- If you will be sharing the load with another person, be sure to agree on a plan before you begin.
- Wear flat shoes and a supportive belt to help you maintain proper lifting posture.
- Establish a solid base of support by centering yourself close to the load with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Assess the weight of the object by carefully lifting one side. If it is too heavy, stop and seek additional help.
- Move slowly and carefully as you lift.
- Bend your knees, keep your back vertical and straight, and lift using the strength of your legs.
- Never bend or twist your back when lifting.
- To help keep your spine straight, focus your eyes upward.
- Keep the object close to your body with a firm, balanced hold.
- Always push – never pull – a load.
- If you feel yourself beginning to strain, stop immediately and request help.
Back pain can be very disruptive to your daily life. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. At South Tampa Immediate Care, we can’t overemphasize the importance of being careful when lifting. Learning the right way to lift can go a long way toward preventing injury and keeping your spine healthy.
For additional family health tips, please browse our online series of articles. If you have questions or are experiencing back pain, feel free to contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.