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Body Mechanics: How to Bend and Lift Properly

Every day workers hurt their backs bending improperly and by using improper lifting techniques to get their jobs done. Body mechanics is a way of using your body to lift properly through proper body alignment. The most common cause of injury is bending improperly. The common mistake that people make is by bending down at the waist. Keep reading to learn how to bend and lift properly.

Examples of incorrect and correct bending

Let’s say you have dropped a piece of paper on the floor and you need to pick it up. The wrong thing for you to do is to bend with your back to bend down to reach the paper. Your low back bows out and you put unnecessary strain on your back. Chances are when you are bending you also have your legs locked at the knees. This is a big mistake; this action can set you up for a back injury that’s just waiting to happen.

The correct way to pick up that piece of paper on the floor is to bend your knees and lower your body with your back in alignment. Your back should never bow outwards when you reach for an object on the floor.

Examples of incorrect and correct lifting

Let’s say you are at work and you have to lift a box from the floor and put it on a table. Again, the wrong thing to do is to bend down with your back to pick up the box.  When your back moves out of its natural alignment, you are at risk for a back injury.

The correct way to lift a box from the floor is to separate your feet so you have a wide stance. The distance between your feet should be near the width of your shoulders. Then bend with your knees while keeping your back posture fairly straight, but not too straight. If your back is bowing outward, then your back posture is wrong, and that makes your body mechanics wrong also. Your body should work with you while you are lifting objects.

Once you have lifted the box from the floor you then raise your body by straightening your legs. Your knees should be slightly bent and your pelvis should be tucked in enough so that your low back doesn’t bow outwards.

Protect your back

We only have one back, so it is important that we take care of it. Whether we are at home or at work, we need to be mindful of our posture. Bending and lifting incorrectly will set us up for a back injury. Common back injuries caused from improper bending and lifting are sprains and strains. Other back injuries may be even more serious; herniated and ruptured discs are often the result of repetitive motion injuries. If we are continually bending and lifting incorrectly, we will likely suffer from a moderate to a severe back injury.

If you do heavy lifting at work or at home, it is good practice to use a back support. Many employers provide back supports for their workers. If your employer doesn’t supply back support devices, you may either want to talk to your boss about providing one, or buy one on your own. If you need to move heavy objects, like a couch or a chair, you can use lifting straps. Always have a partner when you lift heavy objects.

Sources:

WebMD

Personal experience

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Comments (1)

Good reminder!

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