Proper Lifting Mechanics

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Proper Lifting Mechanics  - Video 59


Back injuries are some of the most common types of conditions seen by physical therapists. These types of injuries can develop gradually over time as a result of repetitive actions. These repetitive actions could result in micro-trauma to the back with a gradual worsening of back pain to the point of debilitation. Back injuries could also be acute as a result of improper lifting mechanics or lifting loads which are too heavy.

There are many risk factors that can be associated to an injury of the back. Below are some of the possible risk factors:
1. lifting, bending and reaching without the tightening of the abdominal muscles that help stabilize the back during lifting
2. poor posture in sitting (slouching)
3. poor body mechanics when lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying
4. bending, twisting, reaching or jerking when lifting
5. weakness of back or abdominal muscles
6. poor flexibility
7. deconditioning
8. poor design of job or work station
9. repetitive lifting of awkward items
10. lifting items which are too heavy
11.maintaining and sustaining certain positions
12. insufficient rest breaks or fatigue

Frequently an injury to the back can be avoided simply by utilizing proper lifting mechanics. Listed below are some guidelines for proper mechanics when lifting:
1. Always plan how you will lift and where you will place the object you will be lifting.
2. Always ask for assistance when necessary
3. Position yourself close to the object that you will be lifting and utilize a wide base of support by bringing your legs apart.
4. During the lift bend with your hips and knees and not with your back.
5. Keep your back straight and in a balanced/stabilized position throughout the lift by tightening your abdominal and buttock muscles.
6. During the lift keep the load as close to your body as possible.
7. If you are going to reposition the object that you have just lifted, pivot with your feet instead of twisting your back and follow through with your hips, knees and toes while keeping the object close to your body. Your abdominal muscles should be tight, and your back straight throughout this process.

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