We take the lifting and carrying of objects very much for granted - until we injure our backs.
To minimize the risk of this happening, we should learn to do these movements correctly.
Lifting and carrying should be done in such a way that back strain is minimized. The back is designed for a variety of movements – but not for strenuous activity. For this reason, we should place the weight on parts of our body, which are better equipped for this – the muscles of the legs, arms, and stomach.
When you are lifting a heavy object, you should never simply bend over and pick it up. You should always bend at the knees, until you are in a squatting position and as level as possible with the object you want to pick up. Use your arm muscles to lift the object and your leg muscles to help you straighten up again.
Always lift objects of a weight you will capable to handle. It is always tempting to lift more weight than you’re able to handle. Test out a variety of heavy weights – and stop immediately when you begin to feel the strain in your back.
This is especially important for people whose jobs entail lifting very heavy weights. Always observe the safety precautions that limit the weight carried at one time and the period for which this could be carried. Without doing so, the long-term carrying of heavy loads can cause severe back problems – leading to the loss of work time because of injury or recurrent pain. Later on in life, especially when you are getting old, people suffer severely with back problems and pain.
If strain does occur – and usually you will feel this in your lower back, the area of greatest sensitivity – it may be a sign of worn muscles or more serious conditions like lumbago and a slipped disc. The moment you feel any pain, you should stop immediately and lie flat on your back. If the pain persists, see your doctor as soon as possible.
When you carry heavy objects, always hold them higher than chest level, keeping the back as straight as possible. Though it may take more time, you should carry heavy objects individually, not more than three of four together. If the load is extremely heavy and awkwardly shaped, share it with someone – or call in the professionals.
If you have done a great deal of lifting and carrying during the day, your muscles may feel tense. To relax them, take a warm bath, then lie flat on a bed, or a hard surface, and press your spine into it. Stiffness can also be relieved by gentle massage, deep breathing and moderate bending and back arching exercises.
winstonpilates from Santa Monica and Los Angeles on July 17, 2012:
Really useful hub Hendrik! Lifting heavy object badly is one of the sure fire ways to get injured. If everyone followed your advice then we'd all be saving a fortune in medical bills.
clairewait from North Carolina on July 16, 2012:
I have found great relief of lower back pain by laying on two baseballs right in the meaty part of my glut- muscle. I think people abuse their backs more than any other part of the body and when it goes, there's not a lot of anything you can do.