Everyone knows we should bend our knees when we lift – although few of us actually remember to do it. The key is to start with your feet wider apart (think shoulder width or sometimes a little wider), and then bend your knees. This gives you a more stable base and allows you to use the stronger muscles (gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps) rather than just the relatively weaker muscles of the lower spine (erector spinae).
This technique should be used not just for lifting, but for simple bending, as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re just picking up some lint off the floor – bend properly. At Lakewood Chiropractic Offices, we teach our patients to bend properly even when brushing their teeth! You can’t believe how many injuries we see from improper bending. Vacuuming with poor technique is a classic source of low back pain.
So, to help avoid injury, remember the basics of bending and lifting properly:
-Set a wider stance (shoulder width or slightly wider), and it’s usually best to have one foot slightly forward of the other.
-Squat down, with the bending occurring at your hips and knees, not at your back.
-Maintain proper posture by keeping your back straight, with your shoulders back.
-Look straight ahead, not down, and keep the load close to your body.
-Never twist from the back, but rather turn feet first.
-Always lower the load with the same technique you lifted with.
-Don’t lift heavy objects overhead – get help!
Feel free to ask us for a demonstration. Or, come to my house and I’ll have you move some rocks I’ve been meaning to get to. All in the name of patient education, of course! I’ll be the guy in the shade with the lemonade…