If you’ve ever had a backache, you know it can be one of the most painful and debilitating injuries, often putting you in a chair or in bed for days at a time. When you’re in the middle of a big remodeling project, such as gutting your kitchen or cleaning out a space in your home, you don’t have time to take a break if your back is hurt. Lifting and carrying heavy objects is one of the most common ways to injure your back, so follow these tips to reduce the chances that you’ll end up in pain and unable to complete your home improvement project.
Don’t Bend Forward
When you lean forward to pick something up, you’re putting your body out of balance and causing more of the stress of the pickup to fall on your lower back. Tighten your stomach muscles and don’t move your upper body. This is especially important when you’re squatting down, so always keep your posture in line and don’t allow yourself to become unbalanced as you’ll tend to overcorrect in that situation, which is something that can also cause a good deal of damage.
Don’t Lift High
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you should never lift heavy objects above your shoulders. While this should be a no-brainer, sometimes you may not realize the danger that you’re putting yourself in with this activity should you lose your grip on the object. Also, the large or heavy object could obstruct your view, making it difficult, if not impossible, to see where you’re going or where you should be placing the object. If you do happen to drop the heavy item that you’ve got raised above your head, it’s going to hit the ground (or your knees, your feet or someone else!) with a significant amount of force since it’s dropping from more than five feet in the air!
Don’t Go Too Fast
Slow and steady is the best way to pick up any heavy object. When you’re smoothly lifting something, your body has time to engage the correct muscles and adjust to the activity. However, a quick jerking motion can cause muscles to tear or give way, causing an accident or injury. Lift from within your power zone from your mid-thigh to your mid-chest, very close to your body. In this area, your body can supplement the arm and back muscles with the heavier muscles in your torso and thighs, making your lift safer overall.