Have you ever experienced low back pain when lifting a weight from the floor. Maybe it wasn’t even a weight your were lifting, you might have just been bending forward to tie your show laces or you were changing your babies nappy and you got a sudden severe low back pain.
These are times when a patient would come into the chiropractors office and ask what do you think caused my back pain to start? Well the answer can be hard at times to pinpoint but repetitive bad movement like bending and lifting incorrectly can weaken your lower back. This includes muscles, tendons, ligaments and especially the discs between your vertebrae causing a slipped disc. Today I want to show you some things you should be thinking about how to avoid low back pain when lifting or bending forward.
Bending Forward Causes Low Back Pain
If you have a severe low back pain and possibly a sharp electric pain down your left or right leg especially to your calf muscle. Then you may be experiencing a herniated lumbar disc.
Bending forward puts more pressure on the disc in your back.
I found a good video by Dr Corenman, a chiropractor and spinal surgeon, explaining the physics of lifting and how different positions put different degrees of pressure on your low back discs. There is also an MRI scan showing a herniated low back disc.
So How Should I Lift Properly?
If you have a manual job, like I did when I did nursing in old age homes, you would have had a health and safety course or instruction in how to bend properly to avoid low back pain.
In the next two videos what I want you to see is how to activate the right muscles to help protect your spine when lifting a weight or bending forward.
The bending forward part is very important. Having a rounded back when lifting will increase your risk of getting a herniated lumbar disc with sciatica pain.
Using Your Lats to Protect your Posture
One of my favourite exercise rehabilitation chiropractor and movement gurus, Craig Liebenson, shared a link to a video of Mark “Rif” Riefkund lifting a kettle bell weight from the floor.
In this video you can see Rif teaching a class how to lift a kettle bell properly from the floor.
Imaging the kettle bell as your toddler or baby sitting on the floor wanting to be lifted. This is how you use your latissimus dorsi muscles to help protect your spine and disc when lifting.
Key points for me – squeeze your lats back and down & lift your chest (beastbone) up when lifting to avoid slumping.
The Deadlift Exercise to Strengthen Your Low Back
Another great specialist in the field of exercise rehabilitation and movement therapy is Gray Cook.
Gray is actually teaches healthcare professionals who treat professional golfers, like chiropractor Shane Lawlor. In this video for the Titleist Performance Institute Gray shows us how to train your back muscles to lift a weight and protect your spine using a deadlift technique.
This is a longer video and has some more technical talk but is a great visual on how to lift properly from the floor.
Key points for me – use the hip hinge movement & raise the height of the weight by starting to lift from a chair.
So the reason why you have a herniated disc in your lower back or sciatica could be years of incorrect lifting that just one day fatigue your L4-5 or L5-S1 disc to the point it causes a trapped nerve pain in your leg.
Did you find the videos above helpful? Did you learn something new that you can see you’re doing wrong?