In the process of moving, it is tempting for people to take on the lifting of heavy items themselves while neglecting the possible risk of back injury. This oversight can have painful, and sometimes permanent, consequences. Lifting heavy items improperly can cause damage in the muscles, joints, and spinal discs of the back.
You can decrease the chance of back injury by using proper form when lifting. Take a look at these easy preventative steps to take to save your back:
Posture! The first and most important step should be to ensure that the back is kept straight. A common mistake that leads to injury is allowing the back to curve during lifting, which puts harmful strain on the muscles in the lower back. You can keep your back straight by keeping the chest pushed forward. Do this while bending at the hips and knees. This form will allow the back to remain in a straight orientation and will prevent curvature while lifting weight. Furthermore, using this form will allow the muscles of the legs and hips to do the work, saving your lower back from harmful strain.
Don’t do the twist! Lead with the hips while lifting to avoid any harmful twisting motion. It may be tempting to lead with the shoulders, which runs the risk of twisting out of a straight posture and putting strain on the wrong muscles. Such a motion combined with heavy weight can cause damage to the joints in the back, as well as to the pelvis. The shoulders should be kept aligned with the hips—nice and straight ahead.
Watch your center of gravity! The center of gravity is the point at which the entire weight of a body may be considered as concentrated so that if supported at this point the body would remain in equilibrium in any position. Be sure to keep the weight close to the body during the entire process of lifting. This may be a rather obvious point, but holding weight further away from the body (and thereby away from the center of gravity) will make lifting much more difficult and can put unnecessary and harmful strain on the lower back. Keeping the weight centered and close to the body ensures the most efficient lifting, requiring the least possible amount of effort to lift.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP: KNOW YOUR LIMITS AND NEVER HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP
Next time you are moving something—whether it’s a refrigerator, a piano, a big chunk of lead, heavy boxes for that friend who asked you last-minute to help him move, or even barbells at the gym—don’t forget to watch your back and keep these three tips in mind to avoid injury.
Posted by Brandon Moving & Storage, Central Arkansas' premiere movers