If you have back pain, you are not alone. Chronic back pain is a very common occurrence, with 80 percent of adults reporting experiencing it at least once in their lives. Back pain can be incredibly painful and disruptive, forcing you to modify your life or miss out on opportunities because of it.
Many of these injuries are caused by lifting heavy objects in an improper manner. While people who work in manual labor jobs are at a higher risk, these injuries can also be sustained while doing things like moving furniture or boxes.
If you use proper lifting techniques, you can avoid a back injury from lifting heavy objects (or reactivating an old injury that has since become less painful). Some proper lifting techniques, for example, are to avoid doing things like holding your breath or twisting your back while lifting.
First, you want to prepare yourself for the lift. Clear a path of any obstructions, and ensure that there are no slippery surfaces in your way. If you are going to be moving furniture, you can disassemble it to make each piece lighter. If you’re lifting boxes, you can pack more, smaller boxes to keep the weight of each box a bit lighter. Also—never be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Now that we’re ready to lift, let’s dive into some proper lifting techniques to help you avoid back injury.
Proper Lifting Techniques
If you decide to lift heavy objects without assistance, it’s incredibly important for you to use proper lifting techniques. This includes placing your legs in a position that gives you a wide base of support. Keep your chest forward, and lift with your legs.
When walking, lead with your hips, and keep the objects you are lifting close to your body. You will want to push heavy objects rather than pull them.
Stretches for Back Pain Relief
If you have already experienced an injury or exacerbated an old one, there are some yoga poses you can do that are especially good for alleviating back pain. Here are some of our favorites:
Child’s Pose: On your hands and knees, lower your knees to the floor with your arms outstretched in front of you. Rest your buttocks on your heels, and let your torso rest between your thighs. Breathe here for as long as you like.
Cobra Pose: Lie facing down with the palms of your hands on either side of your head, palms facing down. Slowly lift your chest up as you straighten your arms, puffing your ribs forward. Be careful to only lift as much as you can. You should not be in pain or uncomfortable here.
Cat and Cow Pose: On your hands and knees, ensure both your hands and knees are aligned with your shoulders and hips, respectively. For cat pose, arch your back to the ceiling. Stay here for a few breaths. Next, drop your belly toward the mat to stretch in the opposite direction.
Supine Spinal Twist: Lie on your back with your arms and legs outstretched in a T position. Raise one knee, and twist it so that it crosses over the opposite side of your body. Try to keep your shoulders on the floor so that you feel a spinal twist. Only go as far as it feels good to do so, and stay here for several breaths.
Supine Knees to Chest: Probably one of the easiest poses, simply lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. “Hug” them there for a few breaths, then release.
If you use these lifting and stretching techniques, you can help avoid and counteract back pain. Always remember—your back health should always be top of mind!
Author: Guest blogger Karli Jaenike.