People, by nature, often bend over and reach to pick up an item causing the muscles that support the spine to carry the workload. Unfortunately, this inefficient method of lifting oftentimes results in back injury and pain.
Back injuries, in fact, are one of the most commonly reported injuries to Beverly Hills board-certified physicians and account for a large portion of health care costs each year. Many problems are caused by straining the lumbar spine and may be avoided by practicing a few simple rules pertaining to good body mechanics.
Use the Legs
The legs contain some of the strongest muscles in the body and are designed to be able to carry a significant amount of weight. Instead of stooping over to retrieve an object, people should bend their hips and let their lower extremities carry the bulk of the load.
Keep the Hips in Line
Many sprains and strains occur because individuals twist their hips during the lift, which causes a sudden application of weight on one side of the body. The hips should be squared in front of the item before lifting.
Push the Chest Outward
Keeping the upper body forward helps keep the weight on the legs and away from the lumbar spine. Allowing the chest to sink in immediately transfers the load onto the muscles and vertebrae of the lower back.
Keep the Item Close to the Body
Lifting with the object as close as possible to the front of the body helps people prevent curving the spine. Holding the item against the body also helps individuals better keep their balance and avoid falling. When transferring heavy objects across the room, people should walk in a way that allows the hips, not the shoulders, to lead in order to avoid lumbar strain.
If you’ve exhausted all options trying to relieve back pain, schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of the Beverly Hills spine surgery center, The Spine Institute. Dr. Bae can identify the source of your ongoing pain and provide comprehensive treatment options. For more information, call (310) 828-7757.