Get back to basics: lift properly

Dr. Charles MaurerChiropractic, Ergonomics

Is there a problem?

In the United States alone, about 6 million people are injured each year at their workplace.  Out of these injuries, over 1 million of them result in back problems, making it the number one occupational injury in the country.  Most of these back injuries are due to improper lifting techniques. (Improper Lifting)

What kind of injuries?

The top two injuries related to improper lifting techniques are muscle/ligament strains or ruptured/bulging disks.

Do back belts help?

Unfortunately, there is a lack of scientific evidence that back belts work!  They can help, but they will not prevent back injuries when improper lifting techniques are engaged.

Correct Lifting Position and Technique in 10 STEPS:

Step 1: Plan ahead before lifting. Always know your route! Are you going to have to open a door? Are you going to use stairs? Is the floor slippery?

Step 2: Feet should be shoulder-with apart. Keep a wide base of support. Feet too narrow will give you balance problems.  Feet too wide will make it hard to squat.

Step 3: Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Squat! Do not bend.  Always use your legs!

Step 4: Tighten your stomach muscles. Keep good posture!  This will help you keep your back straight.

Step 5: Lift with your legs. Slowly lift with your legs! Do not bend!

Step 6: Lift close to your body. Hold the load close to your body. It will prevent you from bending.

Step 7: Keep your eyes up. It will help you maintain good posture and prevent you from bending.

Step 8: Don’t twist or bend.  Always use your feet to change direction! Do not twist or bend!

Step 9: If you are straining, get help. Do not try to be a hero! If it’s too heavy, get help!

Step 10: Set down. Steps 1-9 in reverse. Keeping good posture, squat and set the load down.


What if I have a bad/weak leg?

If you can’t squat because of a weak leg, you can modify the technique and lunge.