Lifting is a common daily activity that can easily increase pain or imbalance in the body if done improperly. The following are some practical points to consider when lifting objects, no matter how heavy, in order to reduce strain on the body and avoid injury.
Squat or hip hinge to lift anything that isn’t compact and lightweight. (eg. laundry basket, purse, backpack/briefcase, boxes). Train your body to move at the hip joint rather than the lower back. Initiate movement at the hips when bending and keep your spine neutral.
Always hold a load close to your body.
Use the Golfer’s Lift for small and light-weight objects (eg. pen, piece of paper, socks). Hold on to something steady, and lift one leg up to keep your spine neutral while you reach for the object.
Maintain a neutral spine while cleaning and doing yard work.
Raking or Sweeping: alternate which side you hold the rake/broom on to balance out the strain on the two sides of your body.
Shoveling: Engage your core. Lift many small loads rather than fewer large loads. Turn using your feet rather than twisting your back to dump the shovel. Try alternating which side you hold the shovel on to balance out the strain on the two sides of your body.
Remember that repetition is what creates change. Try to practice proper bending and moving each time you pick something up off the ground, stand up from a chair, or go about other daily activities. Mindfully concentrate on performing movements that protect your low back through maintaining a neutral spine, and over time it will all feel more natural and become more of a habit!