Lifting heavy objects incorrectly can easily result in a serious back injury and ongoing pain. While most people know the consequences of lifting heavy objects incorrectly, some still refuse to use the proper form. Using the correct lifting techniques can help you avoid serious back, shoulder, neck, and wrist injuries, and can prevent spinal misalignments and other health complications.
There are several reasons why you should practice proper lifting techniques around the home and office. Not only does using the proper form ensure you’re using the right muscle groups, but it can also minimize the risk of long and short-term injuries. Whether you’re moving heavy boxes around the house, carrying heavy objects at work, or lifting weights, the form you use is extremely important. Improper form can cause joint pain, muscle strains, and serious back problems. Strains and sprains to the lower back are the most common causes of lower back pain. Both strains and sprains can be caused by tearing or overstretching ligaments, which can occur from improperly lifting a heavy object.
Other common injuries that are caused by improper lifting practices include:
Below, you’ll learn all about the proper lifting principles and what to avoid to ensure you prevent serious back injuries when you lift.
Improper lifting techniques can lead to serious, debilitating back injuries. If you have to move a larger object, such as a dresser, desk, or TV, take the time to plan out your movements. Make sure you clear a path that will allow you to easily carry the object, without the fear of tripping. This is especially important if you have to navigate through a cluttered space. When lifting, make sure you keep the heavy object close to your body to improve your balance.
If you’re struggling to lift a heavy object, always have someone else available to help. Discuss how you’ll both lift and move the object before you attempt to do so. A simple miscommunication can easily result in an accident.
When you’re ready to lift a heavy object, make sure you hold it close to your body. Doing so will give you more stability and balance. When you hold a heavy object away from your body, you’ll find it puts more strain on your shoulders and back and makes it difficult to maintain your hold.
To prevent spinal injuries when you’re lifting a heavy object, keep your feet shoulder-width apart to provide a solid base, allowing your body to easily support extra weight. If your feet are placed too closely together, it creates an unstable base, which will make movement difficult.
Bending your knees slightly can improve your balance. As you bend down to pick up the object, you’ll notice that your muscles are flexed and ready and you feel stronger and more stable. If your knees are bent it will also be easier to keep your back straight. Make sure you bend at the knees instead of at the hips. Doing so distributes the weight instead of placing most of the weight on your back.
When you lift, keep your spine straight. Hunching your back will make you more vulnerable to injury. When the back is in an awkward, hunched position, it’s at a much higher risk of injury.
If you’ve injured your back lifting, you’ll usually feel pain immediately following the injury. In some cases, your back may not start hurting until several hours later. The intensity of the pain can range from minor to severe and is often felt in the lumbar area. People who have sustained injuries due to improperly lifting heavy objects can develop a hunched posture and lose range of motion. Common symptoms of back injuries can include tenderness in the area, soreness, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain.
For some injuries, at-home treatment can help you heal in a matter of days. However, if you develop new symptoms, the pain increases, or you’re struggling with intense pain for more than two to three days, it’s time to see a chiropractor.
At The Chiropractic Doctors, we will use different diagnostic tools to determine what’s happening with your back. In some cases, a herniated disc will be to blame. Several measures can be taken to address your back pain, including short-term bed rest, chiropractic realignment, and massage.
If more involved treatment is needed to restore spine health, our chiropractors will work to realign the muscles, joints, or bones that are out of place using spinal manipulation. We can also go over smart lifting practices to help prevent this type of injury in the future.
A back injury caused by poor lifting practices can be painful and debilitating but if you take the proper steps to treat this injury, you can experience a faster recovery process. At The Chiropractic Doctors, our team of experienced chiropractors can run all the appropriate tests and create a personalized treatment plan that will reduce your back pain, and improve your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. At our facility, our chiropractors will not only address your injuries but will also educate you on the proper way to lift in the future and recommend other treatments that can improve spine health and overall wellness. Contact The Chiropractic Doctors today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.
Call our office to book your next appointment, and discover why The Chiropractic Doctors are consistently rated 5 stars by your neighbors!
This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Phinney.