As a chiropractor I see a lot of patients coming into my practice with low back injuries from poor lifting technique or lifting something that they simply didn’t have the strength to lift. The lumbar spine is especially vulnerable to injury in a flexed position or when exposed to heavy loads. If you are in a job that requires a lot of lifting or follow a gym programme that demands a lot of heavy squats or deadlifts here are some good tips to bullet proof your lifting technique.
- Make sure you bend your knees when lifting and only lift a heavy load when your spine is in a neutral position. Never lift with a flexed lower back… This is a weak position for the lumbar spine and major low back injuries can occur from this position.
- When lifting a heavy load don’t twist or rotate…. This is also a vulnerable position for the lower back and disc injuries can occur in this position.
- Make sure your core is strong and firing properly. A strong core provides stability and strength to the spine when lifting and I recommend that anyone doing heavy lifting should invest some time in core strengthening. Planks, leg lowers and TRX work are great ways to strengthen the deep layer of the core and prevent back injuries.
- Know your limits! If you are pushing for a new 1RM or lifting something really heavy at work make sure you are been sensible and lifting within the range of your strength. It’s hard to be a badass lifting machine with a back injury… You are better to know your limits and lift within your strength range than push yourself and end up with an injury!
- Listen to your body. If you do a lot of lifting and are starting to get some tightness or pain in your back get it sorted! You are better to get minor aches sorted before they turn into a long term injury. Heavy lifting can put a lot of strain on the joints and muscles of the pelvis so listen to those aches and sore muscles. Make sure you are getting adequate rest between heavy lifting days and seek treatment if those aches and pains aren’t resolving.