Prevent back pain: seven tips for proper lifting techniques

Sometimes all it takes is one wrong move. One minute you are smiling as your five-year-old niece runs up to hug you; a minute later you are grimacing in pain because you lifted her too quickly. Lifting too much weight - more than 50 pounds - is a common mistake. It's also the main cause of work-related lifting injuries. If you have to lift more than 50 pounds, you need to share the work.

You can strain your back in many different ways. According to orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Deckey, MD, some of the most common reasons include: not stretching, not paying attention to your movements and years of wear and tear. "Stretching can also help to prevent back pain; it keeps your body limber and allows you to move with more flexibility," he says.

These useful tips will help prevent back injuries:

  1. Think first. Look at what you want to lift and assess whether you can do it safely.
  2. Lift with your legs, not with your back. Keep your back straight.
  3. Get help. If the object weighs more than 50 pounds or is awkward, ask for help.
  4. Face the object. Never twist your body while you are lifting.
  5. Use both hands and hold the object firmly.
  6. Walk slowly and keep the weight directly in front of you, close to your body.
  7. Bend your knees to put the object down at waist level or lower. Don't lean forward.