With the holiday season ‘wrapping up’, many of us will have decorations, trees, and gifts to pick up and organize. During this time it is important to be conscious of moving boxes and bags in a way that not only keeps your valuables safe but your back safe as well. Here are a few tips to keep your back feeling good for the new year!
Lift from the Knees, NOT the Back
When picking up an object from the floor, lower your body toward the object by bending your knees and performing a squat. By squatting, you allow your leg and buttock muscles to take on a larger load while lifting. Try to avoid bending over at your waist, which will make your back take on a greater load from the object and potentially cause issues. Also, be sure to keep your feet wide to help maintain your balance as you take on a new load.
Make Multiple Trips or Ask for Help
Listen to your body! If you think something may be too heavy or you are having trouble lifting with good form – stop and change your tactic. One option is to make multiple trips to decrease the amount of weight you have to carry during each trip. Although it may take more time, it will help protect your back in the future. If an object can not be taken apart to make multiple trips, ask a friend or family member to help you carry it. This will help disperse the load between two people, to make the load on one person more manageable.
Use Your Core
By engaging your core when you lift an object or lean over, you will have an easier time keeping your back straight during the movement. Learning how to use your core can take practice. So if you are unsure on how, just ask one of the therapists at your next session. We would be happy to help you learn!
Avoid Prolonged Periods of Leaning Over
We’ve had multiple people come in and report pain after prolonged periods of leaning over, whether it was to unpack boxes or wrap presents. So, when repacking boxes and undecorating your house, try these modifications: keep your back as straight as possible, move at your hips and not your back, and take frequent breaks to decrease the chance of stiffness in your back.
Have a Happy New Year from your friends at Tandem!