Why do you experience back pain when you are lifting something? Is it because you are lifting with your back and not your legs? Probably not. Actually, it is impossible to avoid using your back when you lift. Therefore, the problem isn’t that you are using your back. Rather, the problem is that you aren’t using your back the way you should be using it.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your back hurts when you lift:

  1. You have lifted too much and/or too often. What exactly constitutes too much will be specific to you, but here is a general guideline of what would be too much and/or too often:
    • 30-60% of max weight you can lift: <1000 times/day
    • 60-90% of max weight you can lift: <100 times/day
    • 90% of max weight you can lift: <10 times/day
    • The solution: Don’t exceed these limits. Take sufficient rest breaks on the days you lift frequently. Lift close to your maximum every 4 or 5 days at the most.
  2. Your back is fully rounded when you lift. This is especially problematic if you lift repeatedly or you lift heavy objects.
    • The solution: Keep your back close to neutral when you lift by staying ‘chest proud’ and hip hinging to bend forward by sliding your hips/behind backwards.
  3. You allow movement in your back while you lift. You can do this either by
    • twisting your spine
    • or rounding your back as you bend down to grab hold of the object and then straighten your back as you stand up again.
    • The solution: Keep your back still when you lift and use your hips to twist or hinge.
  4. You don’t keep the object you are lifting close to your body.
    • The solution: Keep the object you are lifting directly under your belly button as you begin to lift and then keep it close to your body as you stand upright again.
  5. You are lifting too soon after rising from bed or too soon after having your back rounded for a prolonged period of time (eg. sitting slouched, standing stooped over).
    • The solution: Avoid heavy and repetitive lifting for one hour after rising from bed. Stand up tall and wait at least 2 minutes before lifting after having had your back rounded for a prolonged period of time.

Next time you lift, make sure you are incorporate each of the solutions mentioned above. If you aren’t sure which ones apply to you, or you still experience back pain when lifting even though you attempted to follow the solutions, I would be happy to help. Contact us today.