Spine Sparing Strategies

April 29th, 2013

One of the things I love most about chiropractic is that it’s not just about getting you out of pain, but keeping you out of pain. One of the best ways I can do the latter is to educate my patients on ways to do everyday tasks without putting themselves at risk for injury.

I want to take a little bit of time to talk about the proper way to lift, move, and carry objects. If you do the following things each time you lift something, your chances of hurting yourself should be significantly decreased.

  1. Plan the lift, test the load – Make sure that you know where you are intending to go with whatever you are lifting. Clear the path of any obstacles that may cause you to trip and ensure that the path is also well lit. Size up the object you intend to carry before you lift it to ensure there are no surprises when you go to pick it up.
  2. Bend from the knees –  Start off in front of your object with your feet about shoulder width apart and squat down to pick it up. Envision a rod that runs from the base of your skull to your tailbone. This will prevent you from rounding your spine.
  3. Tighten your core – Your abdominal muscles provide stability for the lumbar spine. Doing a slight contraction of these muscles while lifting ensures a strong, stable spine.
  4. Keep it close – Keeping your object close to you when you are lifting will ensure that you aren’t putting your muscles and ligaments under unnecessary strain. This will also prevent fatigue.
  5. Nose between your toes –This reminder will help prevent you from twisting your spine while moving your object. Be sure that you move your feet instead of twisting your spine when relocating an object. This will protect your spinal discs which are prone to tearing under rotation.
  6. Team lift – If the object you are moving is too heavy, or awkwardly shaped, ask a friend for help. The only reward for an ego when lifting is an ice pack and a sore back.

Those are all the tips I have for ya! If you do happen to hurt yourself while lifting something, make an appointment to get fixed up.