Tips for Proper Lifting.
- Keep the object as close to your mid-section as possible during the lift.
- Pick up small objects from the floor with one hand. Use the other hand to hold onto a piece of furniture, supporting your low back as you bend over to grab the object to be lifted.
- A support belt can be used around the waist when a heavy object is to be lifted, or repetitive lifting must be performed, but do not wear it snuggly at all times. Cinch it tight just prior to performing the lift.
- Always test the load and decide if you can lift it yourself or you have to get help.
- If the object must be placed on a surface that is not directly in front of you, be sure to pivot and turn your feet to get the object in alignment with the surface. Don’t twist at the waist without pivoting and turning your feet or you risk hurting your back.
Reducing Injuries Through Proper Lifting
Did you know that lifting any object improperly could cause pain and injury? We pick up something every day, and if we’re not watchful, we might hurt ourselves. In fact, Physical Therapists treat patients on a regular basis who have sustained an injury for improper lifting.
Improper Lifting Can Cause Pain and Injury
Our bodies are actually quite capable of lifting relatively heavy objects without sustaining damage. Proper body mechanics during the lifting process positions the body correctly to lift objects and prevent an excess amount of force to be applied to one body part.
The most common areas of the body that are injured when poor lifting mechanics occur are the shoulders, low back and knees. Physical Therapists can treat the injury site and will teach the patient specific exercises that will help to increase the strength and flexibility of that body part as well as the entire body, helping to prevent future injuries.
Learning the Proper Body Mechanics of Lifting
Proper body mechanics during a lift provides optimal positioning of the body to prevent injury. The joints are protected from excess compressive and/or sheer forces, and the muscles are at a length that enables them to generate maximum force when they are contracted which moves the object more easily and stabilizes the joints that are involved in the lifting process.
When someone lifts an object, she should keep it close to their center of gravity. Squatting down very close to the object and lifting it with the use of the legs and buttocks can achieve this. The “S” curve of the spine should be maintained at all times during the lift. If the Lumbar Spine “reverses” during the lift, a major injury can occur to the joints or soft tissue. The knees should be kept in alignment with the hips and not allowed to move into the “knock-knee” position. This position can place a tremendous amount of excess force on the knees and cause an injury.
Use Lumbar Supports Correctly
Lumbar support belts can be used to help prevent injuries to the low back, but they must be used correctly. The belt should be pulled tight when the lifting process is actually going to occur. This helps to increase the intra-abdominal pressure that helps to support the Lumbar Spine.
Please note that if the belt is worn tightly around the waist throughout the course of the day, the musculature of the lumbar spine and abdominal wall can develop dependence on the belt. This could cause these muscles to become weaker, and not work as efficiently to help protect those body parts.
Physical Therapy For Recovery and Prevention
Physical Therapists can help patients recover from current injuries and provide training to help prevent future injuries. They can offer specific a rehabilitation program to restore normal function of an injured body part. Then they will teach patients lifting mechanics and the proper ways to lift different-sized objects for future safety.