Physiotherapy - Lifting Tips

Lifting injuries are a common cause of back pain.  You can protect yourself against damage with good lifting habits, both at home, in the gym and in the workplace. Some of the most frequent injuries we see here at the City Baths Spinal and Sports Medicine are those involving the back.

How lifting can injure your back

  • When you lift, your back is put under stress. Twisting or jerking while lifting and carrying can injure the small facet joints which guide movement of the back.
  • The discs which separate the vertebrae (bones) and the ligaments which hold them together are also at risk.  Discs are composed of a jelly-like core, surrounded by a strong fibrous ring.  With repeated unsafe lifting, the fibrous ring or its supporting ligaments may tear or rupture.
  • Lifting while bent forward will increase the stress on your spine.  Contributing to this stress are factors like the weight of the load, how far it is held from your body, how often and how fast you lift and how long you hold the load.
  • Back injuries are most likely when the spine is bent forward and twisted at the same time.

Why fitness helps

Your physical condition is important.  For example, stiff joints and muscles can reduce your ability to keep your back in a safe position as you lift.  If your leg muscles are not very strong, you may find it hard to crouch down.  Poor fitness will cause your muscles to tire, placing more stress on your spine.

Why Physiotherapists can help

Physiotherapists are experts in human movement.  They understand how your muscles, bones, joints and ligaments work and how injuries happen.

They can:

  • show you how to prevent injury in your home, gym or workplace
  • teach you how to handle loads safely
  • assess your muscle strength and fitness to design an appropriate fitness program
  • treat muscle, joint and ligament injuries to ensure a speedy recovery.