Injuries due to lifting causing back pain are something that I see in my chiropractic office every week. 

Healthcare workers have the highest rates of back pain and often experience low back injuries associated with lifting at a rate that exceeds those for workers in construction, mining and manufacturing!

These injuries are due in large part to repeatedly lifting, transferring and repositioning heavy patients, often in awkward positions.  The chance of injury is increased by the fact that patients are becoming heavier as our culture becomes more obese. 

Most lifting injuries are preventable. By lifting properly and observing correct posture and biomechanics, the risk of strains and sprains to the low back that result in debilitating low back pain can be greatly reduced.

Here are the tried-and-true rules for lifting with care, without hurting your back:

-— Have a plan for your lift and transfer. Test the weight first and get help from another person or a lift aid if needed. Lift aids greatly reduce injuries that are so commonly seen in the workplace. Use them!

— Get close to the load to reduce strain on your back

— Keep your back straight, head up and lift with the strong muscles of your arms and legs

— Tighten your abdominal muscles as you lift to protect your back.

— Keep your nose between your toes. Avoid twisting at the waist by pivoting at your feet and keeping the load in the center during the transfer. Any load on a twisted spine will make it more susceptible to injury.

Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people miss work — second only to the common cold. A big reason for this is improper lifting techniques, which lead to low back injury. By following the tips as outlined above, your back will be happier and healthier and pain free!


Peggy Malone, B.Sc D.C., is a chiropractor and an athlete. Click here to receive her free 25-page report “10 Steps to Better Health.