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The importance of lifting correctly

June 8th, 2021 by
Category: Back pain Chiropractic Care Dr. Cecily Hendrickson Pain

two people lifting a coffee table

Manual handling makes up 28% of injuries to Victorian workers. Manual handling includes – but is not limited to – lifting, pushing and pulling. Poor lifting technique can lead to a range of injuries, including –

  • Muscle sprains and tears
  • Ligament strains and ruptures
  • Disc injuries
  • Hernias

The above injuries occur because poor lifting places added stress on the body and challenges the structures in the area where the demand is too high.

Lifting injuries can occur both at work and home. Policies and procedures have been created and implemented in workplaces to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries occurring – however, if an individual does not lift correctly they are still at risk of injury. This is why knowing how to use the correct lifting technique will protect your body when manual handling is necessary, both at home and in the workplace.

Can Chiropractic care help with manual handling injuries?

Chiropractic care may be able to help with some injuries caused by improper lifting in the following ways:

  • Working to take pressure off affected joints
  • Assist with spinal dysfunction
  • Using decompressive techniques to assist in reducing pain caused by pressure on discs and nerves

Additionally, when the nervous system is functioning well, the body’s ability to heal itself improves too.

Chiropractic care may also be a fantastic preventative to injury. By ensuring the spine is moving freely and musculoskeletal biomechanics, as well as the nervous system are functioning well, injury may be less likely to occur. Chiropractors are also able to provide ergonomic advice, postural assistance and prescribe exercises to further assist function and strengthen the necessary core muscles.

How to lift correctly

Keep reading for a step by step guide on how to lift properly when lifting from the floor, lifting from a shelf, and lifting heavy items.

But first, always remember to assess a situation. Ensure you have considered how heavy the object is and it whether it is too heavy for you to do alone or without assistance. Consider where you are moving the object to – is it too high for you to lift and place safely? Are there any obstacles obstructing your path? Are there difficult areas for you to manoeuvre past?

Lifting from the floor

  1. Ensure your body is as close to the item as possible
  2. Plant your feet nicely to stabilise your body
  3. While keeping your back straight, bend your knees
  4. Grasp the object so that it is comfortable, steady and the weight is evenly distributed to ensure you stay balanced
  5. While continuing to keep your back straight, slowly straighten your knees (do your best not to jerk)
  6. Ensure your head stays lifted and you are looking forward. This will also help to keep your back nice and straight
  7. Continue to keep the load as close to your body as possible as you are moving the object

Lifting from a shelf or other surface that is off the ground

  1. Ensure your body is as close to the item as possible
  2. Plant your feet nicely to stabilise your body
  3. Grasp the object so that it is comfortable, steady and the weight is evenly distributed to ensure you stay balanced
  4. While keeping your back straight, shuffle the object towards your body and keep it as close to your mid line as possible
  5. Ensure your head stays lifted and you are looking forward. This will also help to keep your back nice and straight
  6. Continue to keep the load as close to your body as possible as you are moving the object

Lifting heavy items (when you should get someone to help you)

What you should do if you decide an item is too heavy for you to lift? Well, you have a few options –

  1. Ask for help and lift the item with other people
  2. Use a trolley or lifting aid to assist you
  3. Leave the object and notify your superior (if you are at work) or employ someone to do it for you (if you are at home).

If you are lifting with another person, the same principles and considerations apply as lifting by yourself, but to recap –

  • Ensure you have assessed the item, the path you will be taking while carrying the item and knowing where you will be putting the item down
  • Ensure all parties are well grounded and balanced
  • Hold the object as close to the body as possible
  • Look straight ahead!
  • Be mindful of your back and keep it straight (looking forward will assist with this)

At the end of the day, you only get one body so be sure to take care of it!

 

 

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