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Pick Up Courses and Furniture Carefully

The start of the school year is around the corner, so a couple of weeks ago we looked at the back injury risks associated with heavy school bags. Mounds of homework and heavy text books can wreak havoc on tiny backs. There are, however, more acute ways for adults to injure their backs preparing to go back to school. Chief among these are injuries sustained while improperly lifting heavy boxes and furniture during the yearly moves back into school residences or nearby apartments.

Too much heavy lifting can often cause back strain, or even a sprain of the muscles and ligaments. Most of the stress that comes from heavy lifting is concentrated at the bottom of the spine, an area of the back particularly susceptible to injury.

Back strain happens when the muscles around the spine stretch too far, over-exert, or contract in such a way that they suffer very small tears. These small tears result in minute bleeding of the muscles, causing swelling, pain, and possibly pinched nerves and muscle spasms. These are awful in any area of the body, but in your back, these strains can be totally debilitating. Pain and muscle spasm are the body’s way of telling you to leave them alone so that they can heal.

The degree of injury possible with back sprains or strains can vary substantially. Spinal muscles can be hurt, ligaments (connective tissue) torn, or intervertebral discs partially slipped or herniated. Most of the time, cold or heat, anti-inflammatory medicines, massage, and chiropractic care can prevent the need for surgical intervention. As with most things, however, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these tips to avoid compressing the spinal discs or straining your lower back when

you are lifting:

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for a wide base of support, ideally with one foot slightly in front of the other. Squat down to the load, bending only with your legs. If you need to, drop one knee to the floor in a half-kneel.

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Maintain the good posture we talked about last week. Look dead ahead, keep your shoulders back and chest out, and maintain a slight arch in your back.

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Slowly lift with your legs, while maintaining a straight back, and be sure not to twist as you lift.

Keep the load as close to stomach possible, and change direction slowly, turning at the hips (not twisting your back), and keep your shoulders square with your hips as you move.

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When you put your load down, keep your back straight and bend only at the knees and hips. Slow controlled movements will also help to prevent injury.

While these techniques can definitely help reduce the risks of back injury, at some point a sore back is inevitable. When that happens, come into BodyMend and we can help mend you back to better health with massage therapy, chiropractic care and physiotherapy. Email us at info@bodymend.ca to book a chiropractic appointment.

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