Ever bent down to pick up your socks, or to tie your shoes, and your back went out?
This has happened to many people at some point in their life.
Why does this happen?
Your low back was never really designed for repeated forward bending. When there are chronic issues with the discs in your low back, even a slight wrong movement can irritate them, causing pain.
You are most vulnerable to this first thing in the morning, when your spine is the stiffest.
How can you avoid this?
For starters, some basic lifting advice:
1. If you’re bending down, bend your knees, not your back.
2. As you bend down, with your knees bent, maintain the curve in your low back, so you’re not flexing or bending your back significantly forward.
3. When you pick up the object, avoid twisting if possible, and try to keep the object in close to your body, so that you’re not reaching out for it.
This is the best way to pick up anything even remotely heavy (more than 10 pounds).
But what if you’re picking up something light from the ground, like your sock or a shoe?
There is a better technique for this.
The Golfer’s Lift
We’ve all seen a visual of this when a golfer bends over to pick up their ball out of the hole on a golf course.
How to do the Golfer’s Lift
Instead of bending down with both legs and bending your knees, this time you don’t bend either leg.
You keep one leg planted and straight, and then pivot or rotate around your hip, with your other leg going into the air, counterbalancing your weight as you reach forward.
Research by Dr. Stuart McGill out of the University of Waterloo shows that this type of lift, for light weights, places the least stress on your low back, and is the least likely to cause lower back pain and strain when bending and lifting.
This is especially important in the morning, when many low back injuries take place.
This is also when many people hurt their low back getting out of bed in the morning. Here’s an article on the best way to get out of bed without hurting your back.
You have more disc pressure in your spine first thing in the morning, meaning that you are more susceptible to low back disc injuries first thing in the morning, shortly after awakening.
The morning is the time you need to be most careful about your low back, and especially avoid or minimize forward bending with your back, especially picking up anything heavy. test
This is a great time to use the golfer’s lift.
Try this simple lifting technique, you’ll find it’s a great way to spare your low back.
Any questions, or if you have lingering or chronic back pain, please feel free to contact us at Transform Chiropractic.
Dr. Byron Mackay