Lifting and Bending the Right Way
Many people injure their backs when they lift objects the wrong way. Once you reach your 30’s, you are more likely to hurt your back when you bend to lift something up or put it down. This may be because you have injured your muscles, ligaments, or disks in your spine in the past. Also, as we get older our muscles and ligaments become less flexible, and the disks that act as cushions between the bones of our spine become more brittle as we age. All of these things make us more prone to having a back injury.
How you can Prevent Injury
Know how much you can safely lift. Think about how much you have lifted in the past and how easy or hard that was. If an object seems too heavy or awkward, get help before you attempt it.
If your work requires you to do lifting that may not be safe for your back, talk to your supervisor. Try to determine the most weight you should have to lift. You may need to meet with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to learn how to safely lift this amount of weight.
To help prevent back pain and injury when you bend and lift:
- Spread your feet apart to give your body a wide base of support
- Stand as close as possible to the object you are lifting
- Bend at your knees, not at your waist or back
- Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the object up or lower it down
- Hold the object as close to your body as you can
- Slowly lift, using your muscles in your hips and knees
- As you stand up with the object, DO NOT bend forward
- DO NOT TWIST YOUR BACK while you bend, lift, or carry the object. Use your feet to pivot.
- Squat as you set the object down, using your leg muscles and keeping your back straight
If you have any questions or concerns regarding injury prevention, please don’t hesitate to call the office or ask Dr. Ting at your next visit.
Tips for Icing an Acute Injury
Whether it’s a sore knee or a lower-back flare up, icing can be a key component to speeding up your recovery following an acute injury. In general, ice is the treatment of choice for acute injuries that have occurred within the last 48 hours — particularly if there is noticeable swelling. Ice can also help relieve acute pain, minimize muscle spasms and decrease bleeding in surrounding tissues.
While heat can be a good option for chronic injuries, remember it’s generally not recommended to use heat following an activity or for acute injuries when swelling is involved. Heat draws more blood to the area and can increase swelling and pain.
Below are a few rules of icing to follow:
- Ice as soon as possible following the injury.
- Only ice for 10-20 minutes. If you ice for longer, you can cause more damage to the tissue and skin. Once the area feels numb, it’s time to remove the ice pack.
- Don’t ice more than every two hours. While it’s a good idea to continue icing an acute injury throughout the day, icing too much isn’t good. Try to ice 4–5 times per day and never sooner than two hours from your previous icing session.
- Use a layer between your skin and the ice pack. If you have sensitive skin or if you commonly feel a burning sensation when applying an ice pack, use a thin layer like a papertowel or a pillowcase to protect your skin.
- Try compressing while you ice. When there’s swelling, compression and elevation of the joint can further reduce inflammation while you ice. Compressing the joint can also help the ice reach deeper into the tissue rather than remaining on the superficial layers of the skin. Wrap the ice around the injury with a compression wrap for additional benefit
Did you know…..?
Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake – it’s a process called consolidation.