Lifting Safely At Home and Work
1) Find your neutral position
In standing, establish a comfortable and stable position for your back. Concentrate on holding or “setting” the trunk muscles in this position in preparation for lifting. This position of your back is called the neutral position.
2) Stay in the neutral position while lifting
Avoid moving the back backwards such as arching the spine and avoid flattening the back forward into a rounded posture.
3) Maintain a wide base of support
Your feet should be at least as wide apart as your shoulders. Have one foot placed forward and one comfortably behind whenever possible.
4) Hold the object you are lifting close to your center of gravity.
Think of your navel as the center of gravity and always hold the object close to you. Wear clothing that allows you to come in contact with the object even if the object is a trash can.
5) Never bend at the waist
Always bend at the hips and knees.
6) Remember, do not twist.
Keep your hips and shoulders in alignment with each other while lifting. Instead of twisting at the waist, place your feet wide apart and have the toes directed outwards. Each foot will then be lined-up along the same plane that you are moving the object. Turn your whole body rather than twisting.
7) Overhead work causes arching of the back: NOT good!
Protect your back from arching out of its neutral position for overhead work by tightening or “setting” the stomach and hip muscles. Setting these particular muscles will keep your back in its neutral, most stable, and healthy position.
8) Use a step stool
Prolonged reaching overhead or brief, heavy overhead work is stressful on the spine. Use a step stool or ladder whenever possible.
9) Push, don’t pull
The spine is better protected in the pushing position. When an option exist, push!
10) Be sensible
Change stressful positions frequently. Get help for heavy work. Take your time. Consider learning to stretch your leg muscles before and after repetitive lifting. It’s your back, take care of it!