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Lifting heavy items is one of the most common workplace hazards. It is extremely easy to injure yourself while lifting something heavy, even when you think you are capable of the weight. Unfortunately, if you injure your back, it can take you out of action, and even out of work for more than a week, as well as experiencing pain and discomfort. The most common reason why people seek physiotherapy is that they have not implied the proper techniques when lifting something heavy. To avoid injuring yourself next time you are required to lift something heavy, here are some top tips for you to follow. 


Before lifting anything, it is important to evaluate the item and consider the weight of the load. It may be something that you can carry, but the size or shape of the item makes it awkward to handle. Consider whether you need to enlist the help of someone else, or the use of equipment such as a forklift. Spending a little extra time can go a long way to avoiding an injury. 


If the item is extremely heavy, or you have a lot of items to carry, you may wish to perform a warm-up beforehand. This will help you to significantly reduce the risk of injury, while making you more flexible, and therefore, easier to perform the lift. It will also help your muscles recover quickly afterwards so you are not aching for days.


When you are lifting something heavy, it will be more challenging to navigate the space you are in. Make sure you clear the space before you lift anything. This will ensure you do not injure yourself by tripping up, which can be fatal while carrying something heavy, and make it much easier to get to your final destination.


When you have assessed the item and the space, and have warmed up sufficiently, you should first take a strong stance and bend down at your hips, as opposed to your back. Keep your back facing forward, and as upright as possible. Squat down and engage the muscles in your legs. The leg and hip focus will take the pressure off your back.


It is easy to want to look down or around the room when picking something up, but you must keep your gaze forward. This will reduce the risk of injury as you are not twisting in different directions and putting pressure on your back. Keep the load close to your body so that you have more control, and help with your balance, as it is closer to your centre of gravity. This will also use less energy to manoeuvre. Make sure you have a tight grip on the item and keep it as close to your hips as possible.

Taking steps to ensure you lift a heavy item correctly can go a long way in avoiding injuries. Although it may take a little extra time to complete, it will be worthwhile. 

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With increased people suffering from back pain being caused by many varied reasons, it is essential that you keep your back healthy. Here are 26 tips on how to keep the back healthy.

  1. Avoid carrying bags that hang off one shoulder.
  2. Keep moving, don’t sit for long periods.
  3. Check your slippers are cushioned as your back takes the impact every time your foot lands on the floor.
  4. Try the latest meditation called ‘beditating’. When the alarm goes off lie there and no nothing and relax a while longer thinking nice thoughts before you get out of bed.
  5. Sleep with a weighted blanket.
  6. Always bend you knees when lifting ‘anything’ and keep your stomach pulled in and hold the item close to you.
  7. Avoid excess weight, as this puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Eat a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.
  8. Watch your postures, especially if you sit down a lot. Take regular breaks to walk around and stretch out.
  9. Stay as active as possible, walking and swimming are great for people suffering from back pain.
  10. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor when you are working at a desk and practice good ergonomics while sitting—and limit total sitting time.
  11. Only wear high heels for special occasions as they put a strain on your spine.
  12. Pop a cushion or towel behind your back for long car journeys and make sure you stop for regular breaks.
  13. If you are moving home then pack smaller boxes instead of larger ones, disassemble furniture to make it lighter and plan to use a cart or dolly if needed.
  14. Improving the strength in your back is very important to long term back pain relief. With light exercise, you can loosen any tightness in the muscles and ease any pain you may be struggling with. Start slowly with your exercise, gradually increasing the amount you do each week until it becomes something you want to do rather than a chore.
  15. Stay flexible, if you are desk bound, move around every 30 minutes, do not get chained to your desk.
  16. Have a deep tissue massage as this can help back pain a great deal but make sure whoever gives it to you is fully qualified.
  17. Stay hydrated.
  18. For the women, don’t carry your life around in your handbag.
  19. For the men, don’t carry too much in your computer bag.
  20. Do not smoke, it has been proven that people who smoke are more likely to have lower back pain.
  21. Never twist and bend at the same time.
  22. When brushing your teeth rinse with a cup of water, don’t bend, it’s a classic position to trigger low back pain.
  23. When getting out of bed, lie on your side, raise your head then put your feet on the floor and lift yourself into a sitting position.
  24. Ask for help. See if a family member, friend or neighbour might go shopping with you to reach those hard-to-reach items. Ask for help if you are on your own. My husband shops with me every week as most of the time I can’t reach the items and I do need his help.
  25. Let your spine really rest while sleeping.
  26. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications for controlling pain and inflammation.