Back to Basics — Tips for Lifting Safely

Lifting Safely Physical Therapy

If you need to lift an object, the last thing you want to do is use your back. Whether the object you need to lift is small or large, light or heavy, using proper lifting techniques is essential to preventing back injuries.

1. Think, think, think.
Ask yourself if you need to lift the object at all. Can you push or pivot it instead? Or maybe use a forklift, a dolly, or help from other team members? Remember: Have a plan and get help if you need it.

2. The path of least resistance.
Make sure to clear a path to the object’s destination. Know where the object needs to go and remove or prepare for any obstacles along the way.

3. Stretch yourself.
Warm up your muscles with a few stretches before lifting.

4. Keep it light.
Is there any way to reduce the load? Keep the weight you are lifting as light as possible.

5. Get up close and personal.
When lifting an object, get down to its level:

  • Face the object squarely.
  • Get as close to it as possible.
  • Lower yourself to the object using your knees.
  • Grasp the object firmly in your hands.
  • Keep the object as close to your body as possible.
  • Lift yourself and the object by straightening your knees and using your legs.

6. Put some muscle(s) into it.
Pay attention to your whole body when lifting.

  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart to create a wide stable base of support.
  • Pivot your feet – not your body. Be sure not to rotate or bend your spine.
  • Tuck in your pelvis to maintain a pelvic tilt at all times.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles to support your back.

Using these techniques can help you prevent back injuries; however, if you suspect you have a back injury, be sure to contact Rehab Associates of Central Virginia right away. Signs that you may have a back injury include increased tightness, stiffness, swelling, pain, and muscle spasms. The sooner we can assess and treat the injury, the better your outcome will be. Don’t worry – we’ve got your back.

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