So many back injuries and hernias happen when someone lifts something that is too heavy or uses bad form. There’s an old adage that says “lift with the legs, not the back.” There’s certainly a lot of wisdom in that statement, but there’s a lot more to proper lifting technique than just lifting with the legs.

When you are getting ready to lift something heavy or awkward, it’s important to take a moment and think things through. Give some thought to your technique and how you approach the lift.


Here are a few safe lifting tips from CORE Physical Therapy:

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1. Know the Weight of the Object


Before you bend over to start lifting, it helps to have an idea of how heavy the object is. You can try moving it with your foot or have someone else help you move it before you dive right into lifting it all the way off the ground.

2. Keep it Close to You


Don’t stand far away from the object as you lift. Keep it against your body, closer to your center of gravity, which will put a lot less strain on your lower back.

3. Stretch Your Back and Legs

It can be really helpful to do some stretching before you lift anything heavy. Extend your back and stretch out your leg muscles with a few deep squats.

4. Use Your Legs

This goes right back to the adage. Definitely use your legs when lifting a heavy object. Bend the knees, lower the hips as much as you can and engage your quad muscles to keep your back safe during the lift.


5. Use Your Core


You can also engage your core (abdominal muscles) to help with lifting and to take the stress away from the spine and back muscles.

6. Look Forward

It’s important to always face the direction in which you need you to go before and during the lift. If you are not facing the right direction, you are risking injury or accident.

7. Plan Your Route

Before you get down to lift the object up, be sure and plan your route where you need to carry it. If necessary, plan stops and breaks if you don’t think you can make it the whole way. Also, make sure there is plenty of space between where you start and where you want to end up. Make sure to avoid any awkward obstacles that could make your route harder than it needs to be.

8. Be Realistic

Most injuries happen because of ego. Someone tries to lift more than they can handle or they try to carry it further than they can go. This is a recipe for disaster, so be realistic about your abilities and ask for help if you aren’t sure.

If you are dealing with lower back pain, a hernia or any chronic pain from lifting heavy objects or any other causes, physical therapy can help you recover and heal naturally. Contact CORE Physical Therapy for a personal consultation and customized treatment plan to deal with your injuries and physical limitations.