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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.

physio lifting advice

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.