With the holidays comes the lifting and carrying of numerous types of packages. Whether it’s trudging through the mall with multiple bags in hand or carrying heavy boxes to the post office, the increased demand on our bodies – to the lower back specifically – can lead to pain and injury. Appropriate body mechanics while performing these tasks is important to prevent low back injury, and allow us to focus on the important things at the holidays – like eating ham and green bean casserole.
1. Position yourself close to the object.
2. Increase your base of support. Maintain a wide stance with a foot on either side of the object.
3. Squat down by bending your hips and knees.
4. Maintain a vertical line of gravity, keeping your spine in a straight line and your body upright. By tightening your abdominal muscles prior to the lift, you will maintain stability in your low back.
5. Use big muscles rather than small muscles. You want to lift with your legs, not your back.
6. Grip opposite sides of the object.
7. Keep the object close to your body.
8. Avoid simultaneously bending or turning. Instead of twisting through your spine, pivot your feet.
9. Know your limits and seek assistance with an object that is too big for one person to carry alone.