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Austin Kinesiology & Chiropractic

Dr. Jeremy T. Bryson

Decorating for Christmas? Raking Leaves?

Don’t hurt your back lifting Christmas decorations or doing other autumn chores, like raking leaves. Proper lifting technique can keep your holidays merry. To avoid injury, follow these steps for proper lifting and material handling:

  • Warm Up: Your muscles need good blood flow to perform properly. Consider simple exercises such as walking or jumping jacks to get warmed up prior to lifting tasks.
  • Stand close to what you are lifting: The force exerted on your lower back is multiplied by the distance from your body to the object you are lifting. Stand as close to the load as possible when lifting.
  • Bend at the knees, not at the waist: Bending your knees and keeping your upper body upright (trying to preserve your normal standing posture for your spine) allows you to use your legs to lift, rather than your back.
  • Get a good hold of what you are lifting: Do not lift a load if you can't get a good grip. Some things we lift, like Christmas tree boxes, don’t have good handles, which makes it difficult to get a good grip for lifting. Get help for lifting those objects.
  • Set down the things you lift in the reverse order of how you lifted them: It is even easier to hurt your back when setting something down than it is when lifting it. Use your legs to lower the object and keep the load close to your body.

Things to Avoid:

  • Bending and twisting at the same time
  • Reaching overhead with heavy objects
  • Throwing heavy items (full lawn bags, etc.)
  • Working with tired muscles
  • Rushing