It’s safe to say that over the years, I’ve treated hundreds of back pain patients. In doing so I’ve noticed a recurring trend—lifting heavy objects is one of the most common sources of back injuries. Indeed, back pain is a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans and can significantly impact your daily lifestyle.
There are many treatments available to back pain patients, but preventing the condition is better than attempting to treat it. In this article, we share several strategies that you can use to avoid back problems anytime you’re lifting heavy objects.
The Golfer’s Technique
The purpose of the golfer’s technique is to encourage a proper posture anytime you’re picking up an object that’s difficult to reach. It is important that even when reaching for items on the floor that keep your spine straight.
Have you ever watched a game of golf? The next time you watch a game, notice the way golfers reach for the golf ball. To execute the golfer’s technique, when reaching for an item at ground level, bend at the hips while using your right hand to pick up the object. In the process of bending, lift your left leg to maintain balance and also to keep your spine straight. If in a position to do so you can use your left hand to hold onto a wall, chair, or other structure for additional support.
The Half Kneeling
Half kneeling is a form of exercise that aims at building back and hip stability. It is done with the right knee down and the left knee up. You can integrate half kneeling into your daily exercises to build stamina and hip strength. This technique is also essential for individuals with bad posture as it seeks to straighten the muscles of the back.
In an ideal half-kneeling position, your knees make a 90-degree angle allowing you to pick objects from the ground without having to compromise the integrity of the spine.
It is easier to avoid straining your back muscles by placing objects within reaching distance. If they are not, it is not good to stretch, instead move closer to the item or slide it towards you. Stretching can result in the arching of your back and lead to back pain in the future.
Consequences of Incorrect Lifting of Objects
Incorrect posture while lifting objects is the most common reason for back pain. This activity can lead to extensive stretching of the back muscles resulting in ligament and small microscopic tears. You will notice swelling in your back following a tear, and this condition often lead to back pain. As you continue to put pressure on these already damaged muscles, you are setting up yourself for chronic back problems later on.
In some cases, reckless twisting or bending can cause movement of the lumbar discs of the spinal cord. This back injury leads to excruciating back pain and is very popular workers whose job description includes lifting heavy objects.
What to Do for Existing Back Injuries?
If you have an existing injury to your back, the following rehabilitative activities will ease the pain.
There are many different types of stretches geared to aiding various areas of your back. However, there are three that stand out as not only being highly effective, but that are easy to do.
- Lower back stretch – This stretch is done with you on your back. Pull your knees up to your chest as far as possible. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat five times.
- Side stretch – For this exercise, you will need to stand on your feet. Stand upright with one arm above the head, lean to the right as far as possible and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat this stretch on the left of your body.
- Cat stretch – In this stretch stand on your hands and feet like a cat. Then arch your back in an upward and then downwards. Repeat this 10 to 20 times.
Reduce Strenuous Activity
Muscles can heal themselves over time. It is, therefore, important to reduce all strenuous activities to a minimum so that the muscles in your back and regain strength.
Consult a physician
If all the above rehabilitative strategies fail, you should seek the advice of a medical practitioner. A doctor will give you the information and recommendation for treatment for your back pain. Treatment may include pain medication along with physiotherapy.
Living with back pain is no joke. It is important that you consider the above strategies and take the steps necessary to prevent any possible injury to the back.
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