If you read last month’s post on fixing your slump at work and that doesn’t sound like it fits in with your work life, then this post might be for you! If you find yourself at a job where you are lifting frequently and worried about your back health or your knees, here are seven quick tips to help protect you from any injuries!

 

1. Stand close to the object with your feet shoulder width apart. If you are standing far away from the object you are lifting, you’ll likely need to reach forward to pick it up which increases stress on your spine.

2. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and look forward. This positioning will make it easier to lift from your legs instead of your back, think about being in a squatting position.

3. Keep items close to your body and at waist height. The further the object is from your body, the more at risk you are of injuring your back. For example, a bowling ball feels a lot heavier if you held it with your arms out straight compared to holding it close to your chest.

4. If able, lift with a partner, or use equipment (hand trucks, dolly’s, or forklifts). Lift smart and use equipment when available to decrease stress on your body. Or lift with a partner to share the load, more hands make light work!

5. If you have time, plan lifting tasks ahead of time for more efficiency and effective use of your body. Plan out the lift before to decrease time holding the object and to avoid awkward maneuvers. If you’ve ever seen the iconic Friends episode where Ross, Rachel, and Chandler try to move a couch up the stairs, then you’ll understand the importance of this tip.

6. Take time to stretch during your breaks and listen to your body. Take time to stretch your body during lunch breaks or between lifts. This helps to reduce any muscle tension or strain that occurred during the morning and things won’t build up by the end of the day.

7. Try to lift with your legs AND your back. Share the load with multiple muscle groups, not just your back muscles. If you take one tip away from this blog post, this is the most important one! Your back muscles are strong but if they are always doing ALL of the work, they can get tired really quickly. You want to spread the load around as much as possible.

 

Workplace injuries are common but a lot of them are avoidable if you can employ some of these strategies for safe lifting. However, if you do find yourself injured after lifting, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We at Dee Physical Therapy can help make you feel good again!

 

Written by: Haley Miller, PTA