Why is the proper lifting technique important?
One of the most common causes of lower back injury is incorrect lifting technique. When you lift an object with bad posture, this causes a greater load to be placed through the bones, ligaments and discs in your spine which may lead to injury. Remember to use the correct body mechanics to lift safely and prevent back injury.
Before you lift, make sure to consider the following:
- Know the weight of the object – determine whether you are able to lift it on your own.
- Get help if the load is too heavy to carry on your own.
- Make sure your lift pathway is clear (check if the floor is wet/slippery, remove tripping hazards).
- Stand close to the object you will be lifting.
- Keep a wide stance – your feet should be shoulder width apart with one foot being slightly in front of the other to keep balance.
- Squat down when picking up the object by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Bending your knees reduces the load that is created in your lower back, which can prevent back injuries from occurring.
- Lift the object slowly by using your arm and leg muscles rather than your back muscles and straightening your hips and knees. Breathe out as you lift. Remember to keep your back straight and do not twist while lifting!
- Hold the object as close to your body as possible. Hold the object near your abdomen region – do not hold the object above shoulder level.
- Pivot your feed by taking small steps to change directions. Do not twist your body.
- Bend your knees while slowly and carefully lowering the object to the new location.