Lifting Safely to Save Your Spine

In 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over 36 percent of injuries involving missed workdays were the result of shoulder and back injuries. The most prominent factors in these injuries were overexertion and cumulative trauma. To avoid compressing your spinal discs and straining your lower back while lifting heavy objects, follow these suggestions:

Don’t overdo it.

  • Warm up by stretching your legs and back before lifting anything.
  • Pace yourself by taking many small breaks in between lifts.
  • Don’t lift anything that is too heavy. If you have to strain to carry a load, it is too heavy.

Test before you lift.

  • Push the object that you want to lift lightly with your hands or feet to test how heavy it is.
  • Just because the object is small, doesn’t mean that it is light.

Ensure that the object is packed correctly.

  • Make sure that the weight is equally distributed.
  • Pack objects correctly so that nothing moves around. If objects shift during lifting, you may lose your balance and an accident may happen.

Maintain good posture.

  • Squat down, bending only at the knees and hips.
  • Look straight ahead and keep your back in a straight line.
  • Put your shoulders back and your chest slightly puffed out to create a slight arch in your low back.

Use slow, smooth movements.

  • Keep the load close to your body and carry it in the space between your shoulders and your waist.
  • Keep a wide base of support by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Use your feet to change directions and carefully set down your load.

Even with all of this prior knowledge, accidents cannot always be avoided. If you sustain a neck or back injury at work, contact the experienced team at the offices of William Capicotto MD, PC to schedule a consultation.