Recently, we discussed the benefits of proper weightlifting for bone density and muscle strength. But there’s another kind of lifting, which is when we move heavy objects for chores and jobs, and it’s often the sort that results in people getting injured. At ChiroCareLA in Glendale, we provide several drug-free, non-surgical complementary therapies to help people recover from musculoskeletal dysfunction, but we also want our patients to know how to prevent problems from developing. Since back injuries often occur among people who don’t lift heavy objects regularly, we thought we’d remind our readers of some basic safety protocols.
The first step of lifting something heavy is determining whether you really need to lift it at all. Try to gain access to a dolly cart, and either way prop open all the doors between the object and its destination. Make sure you’re wearing boots with grip on the soles and that your clothes and jewelry don’t dangle. Before you start lifting, you may want to do a warm-up of about five minutes of aerobics or dynamic stretching (meaning stretches that keep you in motion, as opposed to static ones). Squat down to the object instead of bending at your back and get a grip on it before you lift up. You’ll need to try to determine where its center of gravity is before it's all the way off the ground.
Walk slowly and carry the object at the vertical midpoint of your body, at about chest level. You don’t want it too far off to either side or to hunch over as you’re moving. It’s also important to remain facing forward as you move; if you have to turn a corner, turn your entire body instead of rotating your head or torso independently. When you’ve reached your destination, lower the object by squatting again and sliding your hands out slowly. You may also want to do some cooldown stretches. If you’ve been exercising regularly, having to do some odd chores involving heavy lifting shouldn’t be too much trouble, but if you’re not experienced, it’s especially important to look into following safety guidelines for specific environments and loads.
Dr. Jack Alajajian and his staff operate ChiroCareLA.com at 815 E Colorado Suite 250, Glendale CA, 91205. Call 818-246-3600.