Are you practicing safe lifting? 

Two people lifting box.


This article offers advice on how to properly lift heavy objects to avoid injuring your back or knees. It emphasizes using correct techniques such as keeping your back straight, bending at the knees, and maintaining a wide stance.

Q: How can I lift heavy objects without hurting my back or knees? 

I wish more people were asking that question! Back, knee or neck injuries due to improper lifting are common, yet they can be prevented. It’s important to use the right technique when lifting objects both heavy and light, whether at work or at home. Follow these steps:  

  • Spread your feet apart to a wide stance. 
  • Bend at the knees and keep your back straight. 
  • Lower your hips close to the ground. 
  • Keep your chest and head up. 
  • Move slowly. 

In addition to knowing the proper technique, it’s just as important to know what not to do when lifting. Don’t bend at the hips, never arch your back (especially when lifting items over your head) and don’t move too quickly. When handling heavy objects, fast movements are more likely to cause a sudden strain.  

Women are particularly susceptible to lift injuries when they keep their knees together. Don’t worry about appearing ladylike. A wide stance with knees apart will give you a stronger and safer base for lifting. 

Be aware that not all injuries are caused by a single poor lifting incident. Consistent poor lifting can eventually take a toll on your body, making you more vulnerable to a back injury. The longer you wear down your body, the easier it becomes to injure yourself from even a minor twist or trigger. 

If you do suffer an injury from improper lifting, see your doctor if the pain is severe or gets worse rather than better. He or she can refer you to a physical therapist for specialized recovery and training. 

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