• Dr Jessica Sammut

5 Tips to Help you Lift

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

Back pain, particularly lower back pain, is the most common form of pain. Most of us, in one way or another, have been affected by back pain, and it can be debilitating. In fact, chronic back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and one of the most common reasons for people of working age to drop out of the workforce.


These injuries usually occur after sudden, jarring impacts or during activities that include heavy lifting or excess pressure placed on the spine.


When you lift incorrectly, all the weight of that object goes through your lower back. You’re no longer simply lifting those extra few kilos - add in the unsupported weight of your upper body, with your low back in a compromised position, and you have a recipe for disaster!

So here are a few tips that will help you protect your lower back when lifting.

1. Plan of attack How heavy is the object you are about to lift? Is there a clear path to follow? Can you get a good grip on the object? Do you know what you’re in for? In order to prepare your muscles to brace and lift, you need to know what you’re dealing with. It is recommended that any load over 15kg, or any load that is too wide to carry alone, should be handled by 2 or more people.

2. Get your squat on Do not bend at your waist! Brace your core stomach muscles, squat at the knees with your feet apart and keep your back straight. Your upper body weighs approximately half of your entire body weight – so when you bend at the waist and lean over the object, that’s a lot of weight for a few tiny joints to support – on top of the weight of the object!

3. The lift is only half the battle Keep the object you are lifting close to your body as much as possible. Ground your feet and put the force through the heels of your feet as you pick up the object, and squeeze those bum cheeks together. This combination activates your glutes, and keeps the load off your lower back. Avoid any sudden or jerking motions.

4. Carrying your object Continue to keep your object as close to you as possible, remember your plan, and look ahead. All your movements should be as smooth as possible, so try to keep your shoulders down, and those stomach muscles turned on.

5. Putting your object down Landing is just as important as take off, and putting down your object is very similar to picking it up. Keep your feet apart, brace your core stomach muscles, and keep a straight back. Bend the knees and slowly squat down to put down your object.

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