Lifting Mechanics

Posted on June 8, 2015

Late Spring and Early Summer are the perfect time of the year to get out and catch up on yard work whether it be planting a garden, weeding, shoveling mulch, or undertaking large landscaping projects.  Spending time on outdoor projects can be very rewarding, but can also put us at risk for back injuries.  Over the course of our lifetimes, 8 out of 10 people will experience at least one episode of back pain.  By the time we have reached age 30, most of us have already reported difficulty with pain as a result of a variety of conditions including muscle tension, muscle spasms, disc breakdown, arthritis, stenosis, scoliosis, or issues with posture.  Risk factors for back injury include lack of physical fitness, physical trauma, poor posture, stress, and improper bending or lifting techniques.

What we need to keep in mind is that good posture and body mechanics act to maintain the natural curves of the spine.  Proper posture allows us to avoid muscle imbalances and excessive strain on our ligaments that can cause increased wear-and-tear on our bodies.  When correcting our posture we must remember that our stability comes from our core muscles.  We should relax our muscles and breathe in deeply from the belly, imagining pulling up on a string attached to our chest, lengthening our spine.  Tightening our abdominal muscles will assist in maintaining this upright posture.

In order to avoid injury of the back at home or work we must keep in mind a few key principles:

1)      Maintain the natural curve of our spine

2)      Tighten our abdominal muscles to support the back

3)      Avoid bending/twisting of the back, especially in combination

4)      Always remember to bend the knees, lowering your body like an elevator rather than hinging at the waist

5)      Keep the object you are lifting close to your body

Many people are aware of the proper technique for lifting, but note that it is “too slow” or “not necessary for lifting light objects”.  The truth is that the more we train our body to lift correctly the more it will become second nature (Practice really DOES make perfect!).  Remember, even if it takes you 5 minutes longer to pull weeds in your garden using proper bending/lifting techniques, if it means that you aren’t sore/achy for the next 2 days you have still come out on top!

June 8th Advantage “What I Live For…” Connection:

“What I live for is the importance of building and growing relationships, both professionally and personally.  Being able to connect with individuals can create a life time of happiness.”
– April Linnemann, Marketing Coordinator

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