You’ve probably heard the advice, “never lift with your back.” But have you ever wondered why? To start, the back muscles were not designed for extreme weight. Your leg muscles are a larger muscle group that can better take the brunt of heavy lifting – within reason and with proper form. There are actually a multitude of negative consequences to lifting with your back, ranging from short-term pain to long-term injury.
One of the first and worst things the can happen when lifting with your back is shifting your vertebrae out of alignment. When your back is misaligned, the vertebrae designed to absorb shock can slip out of place and hit nerves or even start touching your spinal cord. Misaligned vertebrae usually require formal treatment to correct and can have a recovery time of three months or longer.
Another painful injury that can occur when improperly lifting heavy objects is tearing or straining of the lower back muscles, as they aren’t used to weight beyond your usual activities. Torn or strained muscles can make moving the extremities very difficult or very painful. Depending on the caliber of tear, a muscle strain generally takes several weeks to heal.
Another possible major injury would be joint damage. Improper form can strain and irritate joints or tissue causing serious pain and damage to bones and ligaments. Depending on the severity, it can lead to excruciating pain and sometimes the inability to move the injured joint. This type of injury can cause permanent damage if not properly addressed.
WAYS TO AVOID INJURY
There are several ways to avoid injury when lifting heavy objects. The first is to make sure the object being moved is within your limits considering your current health and relative strength. Make sure you’re not taking too much on. You should also make sure you have consistent proper alignment if lifting is a common practice. Regular chiropractic maintenance can help ensure you have correct alignment to help with your form when moving heavy objects.
TREATMENT FOR INJURY
If you find yourself in pain as a result of lifting, the best treatment is rest, ice, and a formal evaluation. See your local chiropractor to assess your injury and align your back, which can help with pain or joint irritation. Chiropractors can also demonstrate the proper techniques to avoid future injury.
Take care of your spine, especially when moving or lifting heavy objects. Remember, healthy spine for a healthy life!