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  • Writer's pictureRehabon Physical Therapy

How to Protect Your Lower Back When Lifting Heavy Objects

One bad movement with improper lifting mechanics can be enough to take you out of action for longer than you would expect...

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. It is important to know how to use the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings as opposed to your low back to lift heavy objects.

Here is an 8-step process to follow to lower your injury risk when it comes to lifting heavy objects.


  1. Get a secure grip

  2. Keep your shoulders leveled, and facing in the same direction as your hips (WHEREVER YOUR HIPS GO, YOUR HEAD GO)

  3. Use the power in your leg muscles to support your body as your stand up instead of relying on your back.

  4. Bend at your knees, not your lower back; (a completely flexed (forward bent) back can be highly susceptible to a ligament and/or disc injury.)

This picture illustrates how to safely pick an object off of the ground and pivot

5. Do NOT bend or twist at the waist,

6. Pivot your feet and hips, rather than twisting your lower back.

7. Keep the object close to your body as you move.

8. When unloading the object, lower the object with your arms as you bend your knees with your shoulders facing in the same direction as your hips.

This picture illustrates how to safely place an object back on the floor

Discomfort and soreness are a part of life. What is not normal is living with pain. If you are still experiencing that pain, it's time to talk to your physical therapist or primary care physician.

Try to stay away from narcotics, injections and knife happy surgeons as a primary option for your treatment. There are no magic bullets, but majority of pain symptoms can be resolved with conservative measures like exercises, manual therapy and pain management.

*My lawyer told me to inform you that this is an informative article and not medical advice.


  • Zuhair Haque, Exercise Specialist at Rehabon Physical Therapy. Zuhair enjoys basketball and he cannot wait to start the DPT program at North Central College in 2023. Zuhair has an extensive experience for working for multiple physical therapy/rehab organizations.

  • Irfan Ibrahim is an Owner/Physical Therapist at Rehabon Physical Therapy, Downers Grove IL 60515. He enjoys sunshine and rainbows with his three children. Loves hiking, biking and golfing but he has accepted to live with his mediocre skills. Questions??!! Email him: follow him on Facebook

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