It’s November and that mean lots of shopping and decorating for the holidays. This year do yourself a favor and remember to utilize proper body mechanics so that you can prevent any undue stress on your low back. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you get out all your holiday decorations.
- Before lifting an object, test the load to be sure if it something you can safely lift. If its too heavy ask for assistance from someone else or use a dolly/cart to help.
- Utilize your hips and knees to squat down to get the item. Avoid bending at the waist and maintain the natural curve of your spine. Be sure to tighten your tummy muscles to allow the abdominals to assist with the lifting and decrease the strain on your low back.
- Use a wide base of support to allow for better balance and stability.
- Hold objects as close to your body as possible. This reduces the forces of gravity and strain on your low back.
- Don’t twist your body when carrying objects. Remember to move your feet.
- Have a plan before you lift. Be sure your path is clear.
- If you can’t lift an object try pushing it instead of pulling. You can utilize your larger muscle groups as well as your bodyweight to assist.
As you are out shopping remember to stand tall and keep your belly muscles engaged as you carry your packages. Try to keep your shopping bags equally balanced on both sides to prevent too much strain on one side of your body.
If you do wind up with low back pain or a strain this holiday season; call the clinic to set up a physical therapy evaluation as soon as possible. Let us help you get back to enjoying the holiday season.
Jennifer Buono, PT, DPT