43. The Dos and Don’ts of Lifting

Do you want to avoid hurting your back? Follow the dos and don’ts of proper lifting.

First, the don’ts.

  1. Don’t lift if your back hurts.

  2. Don’t lift if you have a history of back trouble.

  3. Don’t lift a load that’s too heavy.

  4. Don’t bend at the waist to pick up objects.

  5. Don’t arch your back when lifting or carrying anything.

  6. Don’t twist your spine when holding an object. Instead, turn your whole body, head to toe, in the direction you’re headed. Don’t lift heavy objects over your head.

  7. Don’t lift quickly or with a jerking movement.

  8. Don’t lift unbalanced loads (namely, a light load in one arm and a heavy one in the other). Divide the weight evenly.

  9. Don’t try to lift an object (like a laundry basket) with one arm while holding on to something else (like a grocery bag) with the other. Put one down or lift both objects at the same time.

  10. Don’t lift anything heavy if your footing isn’t secure or if you’re wearing high heels.

  11. Don’t lift with your feet too close together. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.

To lift without strain, do:

  1. Wear good shoes with low heels, not sandals or high heels.

  2. Plant your feet squarely and stand close to the object you plan to lift.

  3. Bend at the knees, not at the waist.

  4. Keep your back as straight as you can.

  5. Pull in your abdominal muscles and tuck in your rear end.

  6. Rely on the leg muscles to bear the weight.

  7. Hold the object very close to your body.

  8. Keep your knees bent as you lift.

  9. Lift slowly and gradually.

  10. Get help if the object is too heavy or large for one person to handle.

  11. Use a dolly or other device to move a heavy object.

Chapter 1
  1. Fast Relief for Everyday Health Problems