Spring is in the air, and it's time to clean the house and yard. It's also time to hurt your back if you don't follow some simple guidelines.
First, and foremost, don't bend at the waist and lift while twisting! This movement compromises back muscles, vertebrae and discs, putting excessive pressure and strain. Its possible cause enough trauma to herniate your discs. Make your lifting a two-part movement by squatting and using leg muscles to return to an upright position while keeping your back straight. Once you've lifted your object, turn your entire body into position and place object where desired.
Lifting heavy objects higher than chest level can also cause spinal and muscle strain. Arching your back and jerking object upwards can cause tremendous forces to bear on discs and muscles, causing strain, sprain, and possible vertebral and disc damage. Invite a friend to help you lift those extra heavy objects, and take enough time between heavy lifting to give your muscles a chance to recover.
Age and lifestyle can also play a factor in your lifting decisions. As we age, and if we adopt unhealthy habits like excessive weight and smoking, we may experience osteoporosis, or decreased bone density. Osteoporotic bone can fracture under stress, causing vertebral fractures. Remember that each pound of weight that you lift puts 7 1/2 pounds of pressure on your lower back. So picking up a standard 50 pound bag of fertilizer is putting almost 400 pounds of strain on your back!
Finally, use these same techniques and awareness when putting objects down; the same strains and stresses can occur. Use your leg muscles, invite a friend to help, take frequent "recovery" breaks, and don't overdo it. Happy Spring Cleaning!Additional Links: