3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include scoliosis and back pain, spinal problems, and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness, and leg pain.
Injuries resulting from improper lifting are frequent and expensive. Numerous thousand Canadian workers suffer permanent disabilities as a result of low back injuries each year. Many others are unable to take up their former position. When lifting or transferring people into or out of chairs, bathrooms, or beds as part of your job, it’s important to use proper lifting techniques and give your body enough time to rest in between lifts to reduce the risk of injury. The simplest way to hurt your back is by lifting things carelessly. You can prevent back injuries and lessen painful flare-ups by using proper bending and lifting techniques and by wearing a back brace. Especially when lifting heavy objects, the mechanics of bending and lifting are difficult on the back.
Injuries to various back structures can occur during the lifting phase. Spasms in the muscles, strained ligaments, injuries to the discs that cushion the back, and other problems are all possible. For a while, especially if you are young and have not previously suffered from a low back injury, you might get away with using poor lifting techniques. However, these vital structures become worn out from improper, repetitive back use. Your back will eventually be injured because it won’t be able to withstand the pressures. Keep the low back straight, the shoulders over the hips, and the lever systems short when lifting correctly. By bending the knees and lifting with the legs, this is accomplished.
Questions and Answers
How much weight is safe to lift without risking injury?
The weight limit for safe lifting can vary depending on individual factors such as fitness level, overall health, and previous injuries. However, as a general guideline, it is recommended to avoid lifting objects that weigh more than 20-25% of your body weight. When in doubt, seek assistance or use mechanical aids, such as dollies or carts, to move heavy objects.
What is the correct technique to lifting objects safely?
When lifting objects, it is important to use proper technique to minimize the risk of injury. Follow these steps: a. Stand close to the object with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability. b. Bend your knees, not your waist, and squat down to reach the object. c. Maintain a straight back and engage your core muscles. d. Grasp the object firmly with both hands. e. Lift using your leg muscles, pushing up through your heels while keeping the object close to your body. f. Avoid twisting your body while lifting; instead, pivot your feet if you need to change direction. g. Take small, controlled steps when carrying the object. h. To lower the object, squat down using your leg muscles, keeping your back straight.
Are there any additional tips to lifting objects safely?
Yes, here are a few additional tips to prevent lifting-related injuries: a. Plan your lift and assess the object’s weight and size before attempting to lift it. b. Avoid sudden jerking or quick movements while lifting. c. Pace yourself and take breaks if you need to move heavy objects for an extended period. d. Ensure the pathway is clear of obstacles and hazards before lifting or carrying an object. e. If the object is too heavy or awkward to lift safely, ask for help or use lifting equipment. f. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and strength training, to improve your overall fitness and reduce the risk of strain or injury while lifting.
Plan Ahead Before Lifting
You won’t have to make awkward movements while holding something heavy if you know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Make a path clear and, if you’re lifting something with someone else, make sure you both agree on the strategy.
Lift close to your body
Holding the object close to your body rather than within your reach will make you a stronger and more stable lifter. Keep the item you are lifting balanced and close to your body, and make sure you have a firm grip on it.
Feet shoulder width apart
While lifting, a strong base of support is essential. Too much contact between your feet will make you unstable, and too much space will make it difficult to move. Short steps should be taken while keeping the feet shoulder-width apart.
While bending your knees, maintain a straight back
Before lifting the object, practice your lifting technique and consider your motion. Bending your knees will help you raise and lower yourself to the ground while keeping your spine straight.
Don’t bend or twist
As you go, turn your head in that direction. If you need to make a turn, pause, take a few small steps, and then keep moving.
Keep your eyes up
You can keep your spine in a better position by looking slightly upward. Tighten your stomach muscles. Your back will be held in a good lifting position and extra force on the spine can be avoided by tightening your abdominal muscles.
Lift with your legs
Let your strength work for you. Your legs are much stronger than your back muscles. Again, bend your knees to lower yourself to the ground rather than your back. Straightening your back is made easier by keeping your eyes fixed upward. Never bend your back to pick up something; the damage that can result from improper lifting technique is simply not worth it.
If you’re struggling, get help
Make sure you have a helper available if the object is too heavy or awkwardly shaped.
Put on a back support or a belt
A black belt can support better lifting posture if you lift frequently at work or at home.
The Dangers when Not Lifting Properly
One of the body’s most complicated parts is the back. The back is made up of two main muscle groups, a group of bones called vertebrae that fit together and are cushioned by intervertebral discs, a number of facet joints that allow the back to move, a great number of ligaments that stabilize the spine and connect the vertebrae, and, most importantly, the spinal cord. Improper technique can damage all of these structures.
The majority of lower back injuries resulting from improper lifting techniques are either lower back ligament sprains or muscle strains. Weak muscles that have been overstretched or torn experience strain. On the other hand, a ligament sprain happens when the connective tissue between bones is stretched or torn. Both strains and sprains, despite appearing to be simple and direct injuries, can result in extremely painful lower back pain.
Shock-absorbing discs are found in the spaces between the spine’s individual vertebrae. Vertebral discs can become misaligned due to improper technique. When this occurs, the discs may bump into the spinal cord or root nerves, which can be extremely painful. Additionally, discs run the risk of rupturing, or in other words, opening up. A ruptured disc, also referred to as a herniated disc, happens when a disc’s wall cracks and the interior is forced into the spinal canal. A ruptured disc is painful and needs to be treated by an orthopedic specialist, just like a bulging disc does.
Facet joints, which are found in each section of the joint, give the spine its flexibility. These joints become stiff after being hurt. This stiffness is frequently described by patients as “buckling” or “locking up.” Lower back pain from an injured back joint can also refer to pain in the buttock or thigh.
Common lifting problems
Although no one intentionally hurts themselves, lifting heavy objects frequently results in injuries. The most typical lifting issues are as follows:
- using your back to lift.
- picking up something by bending forward while keeping your legs straight.
- twisting as you lift or carry a heavy object.
- carrying a heavy object higher than your shoulder.
- carrying a bulky or excessively heavy object.
- applying a part grip (e.g., two fingers).
- attempting to lift objects while worn out, fatigued, or injured.
- exhaling heavily.
- attempting to swiftly lift and move the object.
You can help reduce your risk of injury by lifting correctly and staying away from these typical lifting mistakes.
Preventing Injuries with Proper Lifting
Use at least two people to lift a single load that weighs more than 50 pounds. The same safe lifting procedures still apply when you lift with a partner, with one person on either side of the heavy load. Clear communication will enable you to lift and set down simultaneously. Put smaller items that might be difficult to hold onto, such as binders or office supplies, into a box so that you only have to carry one thing and not several things at once. If items are packed into bulky boxes, you might want to repack the boxes to make them lighter. Never lift and carry more boxes than you are capable of doing safely. To lighten the load, divide it.
Help those who need it. No matter how “light” you think they might appear to others, never lift or carry anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. Asking a coworker to stack boxes on top of ones you’ve already lifted is not appropriate. Avoid trying to put heavy things in storage by lifting them over your head. To make future retrieval simpler, put these heavier items on a lower shelf. Set the load down and take a break if you’re feeling worn out. Avoid becoming so exhausted that you can’t put the item down securely. To move heavy objects, use a hand truck, a dolly, or furniture pads. In most cases, pushing is preferable to pulling. Pushing allows you to use larger muscle groups and apply more force to the load, whereas pulling is more likely to cause strain and injury.
Keeping Your Back Injury Free With Proper Lifting
Simply reverse the steps, lowering with your legs, positioning your feet correctly, and keeping the load close to your body. Gentle stretching of your legs and back, as well as abdominal muscle toning, are essential for keeping your back injury-free. Remember that exercise is crucial in protecting your back. Please talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Eat well, exercise, rest, and use good judgment to stay healthy and strong. This way, you can keep your back’s 400 muscles, 1,000 tendons, 31 pairs of nerves, and 33 vertebrae pain-free and functional.
Investing in Your Health With Proper Lifting
The possibility of a retirement plan is an important aspect when looking for a job. It is critical for people to plan for their financial security long after they retire. The issue is that many retirees are unable to enjoy their retirement because of ill health. Learn from their mistakes and use proper lifting techniques on yourself or your employees before you sustain permanent injury. Furthermore, there is no cost to using proper lifting techniques, making it the most valuable investment you can make.
We’re here to help STOP THE PAIN
If you are an adult living with scoliosis or have a child with this condition and need a doctor who specializes in orthopedic surgery,
call the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment today.