Sciatica Series: 28. 7 Safe Ways to Lift When You Have Back Pain/Sciatica

1. Squat- Keep the following in mind when lifting with the squat technique. Your back should be in the locked-in position. Use a Booyah Stik or broom handle and use it to line up your spine correctly. Recall that you should have 3 points of contact: your head, mid back, and pelvis. Using the squat method, you should think of your spine as being in a cast. All movement occurs in the hips. Movement in the hips is referred to as hip hinging (bending like a hinge). Your legs should be spread out as wide as you can and still be comfortable. With your legs wide, you will be able to reach closer to the floor. You can practice squats with a broom handle or Booyah Stik.

2. Lunge- It is easier to get close to the ground using the lunge method. Place one foot forward of the other. Dip the knee of your leg that is in the rear position. If a steady object is nearby, use it to hold on to and dip your knee to the floor. Once your knee is on the floor, grab the object with the spine in the locked in position. Raise your body up.

3. Golfer’s Lift- The golfer’s lift is generally used to pick up a light object (such as a golf ball). Place one foot in front of the other and take weight on that leg. Bend forward with your spine in the locked-in position and your rear leg raising up in alignment with your spine. If is very helpful to have something to hold on to, with one arm to balance yourself. In golf, one would use the putter for this.

4. Saw Lift- The saw lift only works if you can pick up the object with one hand AND you have a steady object nearby to brace yourself. Bend forward from the waist and keep your back in the locked-in position. Legs should be spread apart comfortably. Use one arm to lift the object and use the other arm to brace yourself using the other object. Act as though you are leaning forward and sawing with the pick-up arm.

5. Leg Straight- There are times in life when you can’t bend your knees (for example, reaching into a bin). In this case, lean forward with your back in the locked-in position. All movement should occur from the hips.

6. Elbow on knees- There are two times this technique comes into play. One is when using a shovel and the other is when lifting a light object from the floor. When using a shovel, squat down with your legs wide apart and your back in the locked-in position. Brace the elbow of your rear arm on the thigh of your leg closest to it. You can leverage the shovel with your rear arm in that position. Stand and throw the snow.

Use the same technique to pick an object off the floor. Squat down with your legs wide apart and your spine in the lock-in position. Place both elbows on your thighs, thus taking some weight off your spine. Use one arm to pick up the object and return to a standing position.


7. High Lift- This technique is used when lifting an object off a raised surface such as a bed, chair, or table. Because the surface is raised, most people forget to use proper technique. People often bend forward with their spine in a slouched or bent position. The same technique as the squat, saw lift, or leg straight should be used. Your spine MUST be in the locked-in position.


Check out the full Sciatica series of videos along with downloadable guide sheets for each video on our website.


DISCLAIMER We insist that you see a physician before starting this video series. Furthermore, this video series is not designed to replace the treatment of a professional: physician, osteopath, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, or chiropractor. It may however serve as an adjunct. Do not go against the advice of your health care professional. When under the care of a professional make certain that they approve of all that you try. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Any information given about back-related conditions, treatments, and products is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this publication. Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.

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