One of the most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care is due to low back pain. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association, up to 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some point in their daily life. And one of the most common methods of injury is heavy lifting.

Everyone has to lift objects at some point. For some, it is part of your job, in which case this is a matter of occupational safety, helping your friend with moving furniture, or even lifting your children. There are important things to keep in mind to lift heavy objects in a way that does not injure your back or the muscles of your back. Keeping your spine happy and not over-stressing or compressing your spine and discs is the key to avoiding injury and keeping good health.

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8 Keys to Lifting in a healthy manner:

  1. Keep a Wide Base of Support.
    Keep your feet shoulder width apart on the floor in order to provide yourself a good foundation and base. For oddly shaped objects you can also place one foot slightly ahead of the other in a karate stance.
  2. Keep Good Posture.
    Make sure you keep your back straight. Do not round your back forward but keep your spine aligned one vertebrae on itself. This reduces strain on the discs in your spine and distributes even pressure throughout your body. Go to a squat position and bend your knees rather than bending over when you lift the object.
  3. Slowly Lift.
    Do not try and jerk or pull the object quickly, but slowly lift with your legs and not from your back. This helps prevent injury that can happen from acute forces. Do not try to change directions quickly either. Slow and steady is the key to avoiding back injury and make sure you have a good grip while you lift.
  4. Hold the Object Close to Your Body.
    Keeping the object close to you allows your body to carry the heavy load from a center of strength. This also allows you to keep a firm hold on the object, particularly if you are trying to move it over a long distance. Ideally, keep the object at the level of your hips or at the level of your belly button.
  5. Keep Your Arms Straight.
    Your back is not the only place that can be injured. When carrying heavy items, it is important to not strain your shoulders or elbows. Allow the object to rest in your extended arms instead of trying to bend your elbows, and do not try and hoist the object over your shoulder.
  6. Do not Rush.
    You will get to your location in good time. So focus on keeping the load balanced, keep your back straight, and take small steps straight ahead allowing your body to accommodate for the change in weight and balance.
  7. Do not Twist.
    When unloading the object, do not twist your body but rather, face the area where you are going to place the load, and squat down again with your knees and legs, rather than bending or twisting from your back. Slowly lower the item to the place.
  8. Know your Limits.
    Listen to your body. Do not attempt to lift heavy things that are outside of your ability. Ask for help with carrying heavy objects.

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I already injured my back lifting heavy objects. How can I treat my pain?

Although you can see a doctor or seek physical therapy, the best way to treat back pain is to see your chiropractor. Call today to schedule your appointment!