There are a few simple and easy rules to remember when lifting heavy objects, or just lifting anything full stop! Poor manual handling is said to have caused 1 in 3 Australians an injury in the workforce. In a previous post, I discussed what actually happens to your lower back when you lift a load incorrectly. You can read that post here. The short of it is, when you lift incorrectly, all the weight of that object goes through your lower back. Not only are you lifting that extra few kilos but add in the weight of your upper body (which is approximately half of your entire body weight), with your low back in a compromised position and you have a recipe for disaster! So here are a few tips that will help you protect your lower back when lifting.
1. Plan your lift!
Size up how heavy the object you are about to lift is. If you know what you’re in for, you will know how much you need to brace your muscles in preparation. It is also recommended that any load over 15kg, or any load that is too wide to carry alone, should be handled by 2 or more people.
2. Bending to lift
Do not bend at your waist! Brace your core stomach muscles, squat at the knees with your feet apart and keep your back straight.
3. Lifting your object
Keep the object you are lifting close to your body as much as possible. Ground your feet and put the force through the heels of your feet as you pick up the object. This activates your bottom muscles, keeping the load off your lower back. Avoid any jerking motions, keeping the lift as smooth as possibl
4. Carrying your object
Continue to keep your object as close to you as possible. Look ahead and keep your motions smooth. Try to keep your shoulders down and your stomach muscles turned on to maintain good posture.
5. Putting your object down
Very similar to picking up your object, keep you feet apart. Brace your core stomach muscles and keep a straight back. Bend the knees and slowly squat down to put down your object.
- Correct lifting techniques. NSW: AdvanceOHS; [cited 2015 March 10]. Avail from: http://www.advanceohs.com.au/Admin/Uploads/Posters/ManualHandlingPoster.pdf
- Better Health Channel. Workplace safety- manual handling injuries. Victoria. State Government of Victoria; 2011 [updated 2015 Feb 9; cited 2015 March 10]. Avail from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Workplace_safety_manual_handling_injuries
- USDA. Safe lifting technique. USA: [updated 2015 March 9; cited 2015 March 10]. Avail from: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/emergency_response/downloads/health/Appendix%203-5-B%20Lifting-Moving%20concerns.pdf
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.