How to Properly Lift a Heavy Item

Irrespective of what we do for a living, we are all required to lift objects on a daily basis. As some of these objects may be quite heavy, it is essential that lifting is done properly so as to not damage the back during the lifting process.

It is something that the majority of people don’t even think about, and some are not even aware that there are lifting techniques that are specifically designed to avoid putting too much strain on the spine and back areas.

Learning and practicing these special techniques will simplify the lifting process, and will help you avoid any unnecessary back pain or injuries. The techniques are not difficult and once you learn the correct system, you will have it for life.

The following is a step by step guide to safe lifting:

1:  Formulate a plan.

You must always have a plan when lifting a heavy object. Having a plan in mind will prevent any sudden or unexpected movements when lifting the item. Think about the weight of the object you want to lift, and have a plan about where you want to go with it. If you have a designated path in mind, ensure that there are no objects that are obstructing your path. If you are lifting a heavy item with someone else, make sure that you both are on the same wave length and are aware of the plan of action.

2:  Hug the object.

It is always a good idea to hug the item and place it as close to your body as you possibly can. Grip the object steadily, pull it close to your body and keep it balanced there. Hugging the item will give you more steadiness and stability.

3:  Plant your feet.

Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor under you and always aim to position them shoulder-with apart. This will ensure that you have an extremely solid base for lifting and will prevent any jerky movements. You should always take short steps when carrying a heavy object.

4:  Bend your knees and always aim to keep your back aligned straight.

This is probably the most important stage in the lifting process. Make sure you concentrate on keeping your back properly aligned while bending your knees to pick up the object. Getting this step right can take plenty of practice but once you’ve mastered it, you will notice the ease in pressure to your back area straight away.

5.  Tighten your stomach.

Keep your stomach muscles tightened as much as you can. This will help to hold your back in the proper position and will prevent any additional force on your spine.

6.  Lift using your legs.

Always aim to lift using your legs. Using the strength of your leg muscles will prevent you from using the muscles in your back which are considerably weaker. You should look upward at all times when lifting.

7.  Get help.

Don’t let your ego be the cause of a serious back injury. If you feel you need help with lifting a heavy object, always ask someone to help you.

8:  Use a back support.

If lifting heavy items is something you do regularly, a back support is vital. Back supports are designed to care for the lower back and they help users maintain an improved lifting posture.

Improper lifting is the root cause of so many people’s back pain and spine injuries. Follow the steps mentioned above the next time you need to lift a heavy object, and you will most certainly notice the difference.

Dr. Steven Lipsky

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