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Human Body - Central States Orthopedics

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Patient Info

Proper Lifting Techniques

Whether you are lifting or moving a heavy object, such as a person or a piece of equipment, there are guidelines that should be followed to protect the back from being injured. Improper lifting can result in lower back injury.

Following is an overview of proper lifting technique.

Correct Positioning

Stand directly in front of the load, with feet about shoulder width apart. One foot should be in front of the other for balance.

Plan the Lift

Before attempting to lift or move something heavy, it is important to step back and analyze what needs to be accomplished. Think about how heavy the object is, how far it has to be moved, where it is going to end up? What is the shape of the object? Is it cumbersome, will it be easily manipulated? Is it a two-person job? Is there anything in the way that needs to be moved prior to lifting?

Get Help if Needed

If the load is too heavy, DO NOT TRY TO LIFT IT ALONE. Find someone who can help carry it, or if possible, break the load into two smaller, more manageable loads.

Bend the knees and tighten the stomach muscles. Using both hands, grasp the object firmly and pull it as close as possible to your body.

Lift With the Legs — NOT THE BACK

Since leg muscles are stronger than back muscles, lift with the legs, until they are straightened. Avoid jerky movements. Keep the natural curve in the spine; don’t bend at the waist. To turn, move the feet around by pivoting on the toes, not by twisting at the stomach.

When it is time to set the load down, it is very important that it is done correctly. Reverse the procedures for lifting to minimize the strain on the back. If the load is going to set on the floor, bend the knees and position the load in front of you. If the load is to go at table height, set it down and keep in contact with the load until it is secure on the table.

For more information about protecting against back injuries, as well as information about preventing other work-related injuries, click here.

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