These days, health and safety has never been so important. However, this only tends to be talked about in regards to Occupational Health & Safety in the workplace. What about if you’re moving house or rearranging furniture? The answer to doing this in a way that you can still enjoy your new home after the move (without being stuck in bed with a sore back) is about understanding how to lift correctly.
So what do you need to know about how to lift correctly?
If you’re moving house, then you have the potential of hurting yourself if you don’t lift correctly. This could be from moving boxes, carrying furniture or loading/unloading the truck. Because of this, it’s important for you to adhere to a code that the Occupational Health & Safety industry calls Manual Handling.
1. Bend from the knees
One of the biggest mistakes people make is bending with the back when picking items up. This means the item is further away from your body, and you are placing the full weight of the load onto your back with the potential to cause injury.
Bending from the knees means the item you’re lifting is brought closer to your body, and with your back straight and lifting with the legs, you are distributing the weight. This way you will lift with more ease and without causing injury to your lower back.
2. Keep loads close to the body
Not only does keeping loads close to the body reduce the risk of injury, but it’s also easier – a weight load placed close to the body will be easier to lift than one further away, so make it easy on yourself and hold that box close!
3. Don’t lift heavy items alone
If the item you are wanting to lift is heavy even with bringing it close and bending at the knees, you still run the risk of injury. The issue with heavy items is that you could try to pick up something you will physically struggle with, and overload your muscles. This creates poor lifting techniques, and you may possibly still injure yourself.
To mitigate the risk, don’t try to be a hero – just ask a friend to help you lift the item. It might cost you in pizza or beer, especially if you’re moving a whole house, but it’s worth it to avoid a back injury.
What could happen if you don’t lift correctly?
Lifting incorrectly can cause injuries that have the potential to last a lifetime. I’m not saying that to scare you – most people who complain of back pain, particularly the lower back, initially injured themselves from lifting incorrectly. The most common injury is damaging the Quadratus lumborum muscle, followed by causing a prolapsed disc between the L1 and S5 vertebrae.
Should you find yourself injured from lifting correctly, remedial massage can help by focusing on the muscles of the lumbar region, particularly the Quadratus lumborum muscle.