Back Pain Home > Lifting Techniques for Preventing Back Injuries

Lifting techniques for preventing back injuries include lifting with your large, strong leg muscles instead of the small muscles of the back. Lifting techniques for preventing back injuries also include getting close to the object you are going to lift and maintaining an upright position while squatting to pick up the object.

Lifting Techniques for Preventing Back Injuries: A Summary

Lifting is strenuous and it requires proper training and technique. By lifting with your large, strong leg muscles instead of the small muscles of the back, you can prevent back injuries and reduce lower back pain. Tips to follow when lifting an object include:
 
  • Get close to the load. Get as close to the load as possible, as if you're hugging the object. Having the object close to your body puts less force on your lower back.
 
  • Maintain your curves. Keep yourself in an upright position while squatting to pick up.
 
  • Tighten your stomach muscles. Tightening the stomach helps support the spine. Don't hold your breath while tightening the muscles.
 
  • Lift with your legs. Your legs are the strongest muscles in your body, so use them.
 
  • Pivot, don't twist. Turn with your feet, not your back. Your back isn't built for twisting from side to side.
 
  • Ask for help with large or heavy loads. If a load is too heavy to lift alone, ask for help. Pick one person to coach the lift, this way you lift and lower at the same time.
 
  • Overhead loads. If a load is above your shoulders, use a step stool to elevate yourself until the load is at least at chest level, but preferably at waist height. Pull the object close to your body and then lift. Remember to maintain your curves, and use your arms and legs to do the work.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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