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Posted on 04-01-2017

As a chiropractor, I see people daily who “throw out” their back when going to lift an object. Sometimes it’s a heavy object, sometimes it’s as light as a paper clip, it doesn’t matter. Improper lifting can mean bad news for you low back, especially when done frequently.

Lifting an object places a tremendous amount of stress on the body. In fact, your back receives 10x the amount of weight that you’re lifting. This means that a person an average person with 110 lbs of upper body weight that lifts a 10 pound object places 1200 pounds of pressure on their spine.

10 pound object x 10 (10:1 ratio)    = 100 pounds

110 pounds (weight of male upper body) x 10 (10:1 ratio)  = 1100 pounds

1100 lbs + 100 lbs = 1200 pounds

Most of us have heard by now, don’t bend at the waist to lifting, but how should you be lifting?

This video below explains a slightly modified lifting technique, but it is a healthy technique nonetheless. In short you need to bend at the hips and the knee, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. I included a step by step below.

  1. Stand close to load, center body above the load.

  2. If load is narrow enough straddle to the load between your legs

  3. Tighten core or abdominal muscles

  4. Squat as if you’re a weightlifter. You will be bending through the hips and knees. Your low back should be in the same position as before you started the lift (vertical).

  5. Get a good grip on the object and lift up in the same way you came down. Your back should remain vertical the whole time.

  6. Keep load in your Neutral Zone.  That’s the space between your shoulders and your waist. Keep the weight close to your body.

  7. DO not twist or turn body while lifting

  8. When changing directions, change direction with your feet rather than your back

  9. Repeat process to set object down.

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