Lifting

Original Editor - The Open Physio project

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Lifting box.jpg

Many lower back injuries come about as a result of poor lifting techniques, something that physiotherapists are uniquely placed to address. The following principles of safe lifting should be covered whenever you treat a patient with Lower back pain.

  • Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace.
  • Bending, followed by twisting and turning, were the more commonly cited movements that caused back injuries.
  • Strains and sprains from lifting loads improperly or from carrying loads that are either too large or too heavy are common hazards associated with manually moving materials.
  • When using smart lifting practices, people are less likely to suffer from back sprains, muscle pulls, wrist injuries, elbow injuries, spinal injuries, and other injuries caused by lifting heavy objects[1].

Principles of Safe Lifting[edit | edit source]

  • Screenshot 2020-05-22 at 11.50.49.png
    Assess the immediate area and load to be lifted.
  • Bend the knees to lower the body to the level of the load.
  • Keep feet shoulder width apart to ensure a broad, stable base.
  • Keep the back straight (though not necessarily erect).
  • Use a firm, palmar grip.
  • Keep the arms close to trunk.
  • Keep the load / weight close to the Centre of gravity and within the Base of support.
  • Point / pivot the feet in the direction of the movement. Never rotate the trunk while lifting.
  • Lift using the strong muscles in the legs, rather than the postural muscles in the trunk.
  • If the load is too heavy for one person, wait until you can get help.

Important Things To Remember[edit | edit source]

  • Lifting mechanics.jpg
    Use mechanical means (e.g. hand trucks, pushcarts, etc.) when possible for heavier or awkward loads.
  • Easier and safer to push than to pull.
  • Keep loads as close to the body as possible and do not twist while lifting, carrying, or setting down a load. Nose, shoulders, hips, and toes should all be facing the same direction.
  • Minimize reaching.
  • As a general rule, bend at the knees, not the hips.
  • Get help when needed.
  • Plan ahead for all parts of the lift: lifting, carrying, and setting down.
  • Try to utilize proper handholds while lifting. If an item does not have a good handhold, think of ways to remedy this, such as placing the item in a container with good handholds, creating a safe and proper handhold with an appropriate tool, etc.
  • Use personal protective equipment where needed, such as gloves with good grip and steel-toed boots where appropriate.
  • Implement rest breaks and job rotation for frequent and/or heavy lifting.
  • Place items to be lifted within the “power zone”. ie close to the body, between the mid-thigh and mid-chest of the person doing the lifting. This is the area where the arms and back can lift the most with the least amount of effort.

References[edit | edit source]