Many patients seeking physiotherapy are suffering from lower back pain. This is commonly caused by improper form while lifting. Improper lifting may lead to injuries to the spine or soft structures of the lower back area such as, muscles, ligaments or discs. This could be prevented by learning proper lifting techniques.
Squat lifting should be done for objects which have a regular shape, are light and have an area for grip.
- Before lifting, it is important to approach the object, determine the weight and how to grip it properly. This prevents surprises while lifting.
- Start by standing upright and place feet shoulder width apart, as close to the object as possible.
- Move your hips back while keeping your back straight then lower yourself down.
- While lifting, do not look down and keep your chest straight.
- Place hands on secure grip of the object and proceed to lift, keeping it as close to your body as possible
Lifting Irregular objects
Not all objects which we lift off the floor will have a secure grip, evenly distributed weight or standard shape. Therefore, it is important to recognise how to properly lift an ‘irregular’ object.
- Observe the object and determine the weight and the grip.
- Place one leg close to the object and one leg back (stepping position), shoulder width apart.
- Bend down onto one knee.
- Grip the object from underneath and keep it close to your chest.
- Once comfortable with your grip, stand up directly while keeping your back straight.
Lifting Objects From the Shopping Cart or Trunk of the Car
Moving objects (such as groceries) from the shopping cart to the car properly, is important for avoidance of lower back pain and injury.
- Place the non-dominant hand on the shopping cart or trunk of the car as support
- Lift your leg (on your dominant side) off the ground and bend down.
- Grab and pick up the object.
Lifting small objects off the ground
- If you have good balance, bend forward to pick up the object while lifting the back leg off the ground.
- Alternatively, step forward, place one hand on your knee and pick up that object.
Two Person Lifting
For large objects, it is important to utilise the proper technique for Two Person Lifting.
- Examine the object to determine the weight and the grip.
- One person needs to command while the other person assists.
- Both, approach the object keeping feet shoulder width apart.
- Look forward as bending knees.
- It is important to lift up simultaneously. The leader needs to count to three to let the other person know when to lift.
- Lift the object up using the strong muscles in the leg and the back.
- For carrying up or down stairs, make sure the strongest person is below the object. You must count the steps to avoid a misstep or falling.
Safety techniques while lifting
- While lifting do not twist your body. When transferring an object behind you or to your side, turn around, especially if the object is heavy
- When lifting an elevated object use a stepping stool to avoid dropping the object or injury due to awkward positioning.
- If lifting an object that is dirty (ex. Flat tire), make sure to still hold it close to your body. Place a cloth over the object to avoid messing up your clothes.