The Effects of Heavy Lifting on Your Back

The Effects of Heavy Lifting on Your Back

Many people are confident that they know how to properly lift and maneuver heavy objects. Truth is, many people don’t know how to properly lift something heavy. They also aren’t aware of the effects that improper lifting can have on their back. There are three significant back injuries that can be caused by improper heavy lifting:

Muscle injury

Not being in the right position while lifting can place extra stress on the lower back muscles, and when added pressure is placed on a muscle, injury will often occur. This stress can cause tiny tears to form in the muscle, leading to pain and making it difficult to move the affected and surrounding tissues.

Joint injury

The back contains many joints along the spinal column. These joints can be quite resilient when handling the stress of lifting that is done properly. However, improper lifting techniques, even with lightweight objects, can irritate these joints and result in injured joints.

Disc injury

The intervertebral discs are a cushion between the vertebrae (bones). These fibrous discs can bulge or rupture when injured. This type of injury in the lower back can cause pain that can radiate through the buttocks and the legs.

Tips for proper lifting

To prevent injury when lifting heavy items, try to follow these important tips:

  • Keep the chest forward – To lift properly, be sure to keep your chest pushed out to properly bend at the hips and knees. This will guarantee a straight back to prevent injury.
  • Lead with the hips – When changing positions, be sure to move the hips first, and the shoulders will follow in unison. This prevents potentially harmful twisting.
  • Keep object close to the body – The further an object is from a person’s center of gravity, the more force that is required to lift the object. Keeping the object as close to you as possible will help to lift the item without injury.

For more information on caring for your lower back, stop by our office to pick up your free copy of “The Back Owner’s Manual.” If you’ve suffered an injury from heavy lifting, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule your next appointment.