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Safe(r) Lifting: Tips for Moving With Ease

man moving boxes with back painMoving and lifting are common tasks we perform every day, but it’s important to learn the proper techniques to avoid injury and make these tasks easier. Your body is made up of systems that work together to coordinate movement, and learning proper movement patterns can help limit or prevent injuries.

Understanding Physics and Biophysics

Physics tells us that when a weight is held or applied far from an axis of rotation, it requires more force (torque/angular momentum) to move it. This means that holding a baby (or any weight) at arm’s length requires more effort than holding the weight closer to your body. This concept applies to lifting and moving objects in general. The closer the weight is to your body’s pivot point, the easier it is to lift.

Applying Physics to Lifting and Moving

Olympic powerlifters use this principle by scraping the weight up their body as they clean-and-jerk. You can apply this same concept by lifting and/or holding objects closer to your body to reduce the amount of force required. Lifting a bag of groceries, or a bucket? Keep it in close. Minimizing twisting is also important, as even a slight twist can put a lot of stress on spinal discs and their related muscles.

Use Your Glutes

The gluteus maximus muscle has the largest volume of any muscle in your body. Use that power. When you lift an object off the floor, or do the opposite and place it down, be sure the hips participate in the movement rather than trying to have your spinal extensor muscles (or worse yet, rotational muscles) do all the work.

Bonus Tips for Safe Lifting

In addition to proper lifting technique, there are other tips to help prevent injury:

  • Warm up and stretch before lifting
  • Consider taking extra trips instead of lifting everything at once
  • Ask for help or team lift heavy objects
  • Use external devices like dollies and wheels to make moving easier

Work With a Doctor of Chiropractic for Optimal Mechanics

As a chiropractor, Dr. Shaye can help you optimize your mechanics and minimize or eliminate imbalances and old injuries. Your low back injury may be caused by faulty lifting habits, or restrictions in the back and sacroiliac joints, or hip issues, or even problems in the knee, foot, and ankle. Find the cause – and your solution. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today.


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