Lifting is a component of manual handling, which is defined as any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain a person, animal or thing. Manual handling, and lifting in particular, is a common cause of pain and injury.
Areas of the body that can be injured by lifting include:
- lower back sprains and strains (muscle and joint injuries)
- lumbar disc injuries
- neck and shoulders
- hips and knee joints
These injuries can be prevented by lifting correctly. Correct lifting will reduce the effort or exertion required to perform a lift, which will help to prevent injury, and preserve the musculoskeletal system in the long-term.
Physiotherapists understand the mechanics of your muscles, bones, joints and ligaments, and how injuries occur. A physiotherapist can help to:
- rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries from lifting and ensure safe return to lifting tasks
- teach you how to better handle loads and heavy lifting
- set you up with a custom strength and conditioning program to reduce the likelihood of your muscles tiring during lifting tasks, which increases the risk of injury
- improve the flexibility of your muscles and joints, which will help to attain correct technique when lifting
If you do a lot of lifting and/or experience any pain in your joints or muscles, it is important to be assessed by a physiotherapist.
Special thanks to Greg Borman for contributing this content.