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Posted on 11-07-2012
As a Monroeville/Penn Hills Chiropractor, I tell patients all the time that coming into my office is the foundation and the start of getting better, but the fact remains that a patient is away from the office for much longer than they are in the office. Therefore, doing things “the right way” is of utmost importance to maximizing one’s improvement and well-being. One of the biggest issues for injury prevention is to be aware of, and practice, proper lifting techniques. Untold musculoskeletal injuries occur every day when people lift heavy, slightly heavy, or even light objects without following proper lifting techniques.
Remember this simple rule when lifting: Never bend from your waist when standing upright to pick up something. Keep your back straight and crouch first by bending at the knees. Do this even if you’re picking up a something light, like an ink pen or a child’s toy, off the floor. This allows your arm, shoulder, and leg muscles, not your back, to do the brunt of the work. For all of us, our leg muscles are some of the strongest and largest in the body. Use them!
Here are some simple lifting techniques to help you avoid injuries:
- Make sure you have a place to put the object you have lifted. Do not try to figure this out while holding the object. Position your body close to and in front of the object. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about a shoulder-width apart.
- If you need to turn during the lift, use your feet to pivot. Don’t twist with an object. Take 2 simple steps with your entire body and turn to the side to place something.
- Your leg muscles—not those in your back—should be the ones providing the power during your motion to stand erect.
- Keep the load as close to your body as possible to maximize the use of your arms and shoulder muscles. The further an object is from your center of gravity, the more force that is required to hold that object up.
- Keep your chest forward and bend at your hips (not the lower back) or your knees, depending on how far down the items is that you want to lift. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid twisting motions.
- When lifting, push your chest out, pointing forward. Avoid twisting or turning during the lift.
- Don't lift an object that is obviously too heavy. Test the weight of the object by pushing it with your foot. If it is very difficult or impossible to push with your foot, it is likely that the object is more than your muscles can handle.
Following some of these simple techniques is a key step to making sure you don’t injure yourself by lifting objects. Like any good habit or routine, it takes thought to do it over and over. So make a conscious effort to think of these every time you lift. After a while, they become habit and you won’t have to think about it as much.
If you think you have low back pain or hurt yourself lifting something, please contact me at my Monroeville/Penn Hills Chiropractor office.
- Dr. Brent Shealer -- Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Penn Hills Chiropractor
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