“Lift with your legs, not with your back.” That is a saying most of us have heard at some point in our lives, but it is not always clear exactly what it means or how to make sure you lift with your legs and not your back. With how prevalent back pain is, it is important to take every measure possible to reduce the strain on your back. Lifting with proper form is essential for reducing this risk of lower back injury, so it is good to know the keys to making sure you lift properly.
The first thing you need to do when preparing to lift something up off the ground is to get yourself in position as close to the object as possible. The further you are from the object you are trying to lift, the more likely you are to use your back and the harder it will be to lift. Therefore, increasing the distance from the object increases the force needed to lift it off the ground. When you set yourself up close to the object, it becomes much easier to squat down to pick it up, rather than bending over to grab it.
After you have set yourself up close to the object, you want to squat down (bending your knees and hips to lower yourself down towards the ground) until you are able to grab the object. Once you have a good grip on the object, engage your core, keep your back straight, and push through your heels to stand up.
By following these steps, it will not only be easier to lift things up off the ground, but also decrease the risk of hurting your back in the process. While this is an important factor in reducing your risk of low back pain, it is also good to be proactive about improving your posture. In addition, working on strengthening your core will help further reduce the strain placed on your lower back.
Physical therapy can be very beneficial in teaching proper form and technique. When you have a focused plan on improving lift form, posture, and core strength, it can help to decrease the risk of future injury.
The Balance Chicago Team is here to help you! For more information, or to schedule your appointment, give us a call or click the link above. We look forward to working with you soon!
Blog Written By: Dr. Ryan Smrz, PT, DPT