Georgetown Back Pain-Preventing Lifting Techniques

May 24, 2022

Lifting something off the ground appears to be a simple task for most people. It’s a task we do every day typically without question. Clients at Dr. Butwell share these kinds of stories daily about how difficult it is to pick something up off the ground or how reaching for a simple pencil up off the ground precipitated the worst back pain. Our Georgetown chiropractic patients share common stories like this! Strengthening the quads with exercise as part of our chiropractic services, and lifting slowly and with a few suggestions in mind can potentially limit stress on the spine.


When it comes to posture, lifting is a notorious risk factor for low back pain. Lifting techniques like the stoop/lifting with the back, squat/lifting with the legs, and semi-squat/a mix of the other two are well-documented. Squat lifting seems to be the one most report is optimal. One group of researchers stated some odd findings though: squat lift training did not prevent low back pain and stoop lifting is not a risk factor for low back pain. How do these two points contribute to the discussion of suitable lifting for back pain prevention and management? They suggested that the lifting posture that is proper for each person must be individualized as each lifting posture has its own biomechanical and kinematic patterns for muscle activation making certain lifting postures better for certain patients. Researchers described that stoop lifting was more metabolically efficient and less challenging to the cardiopulmonary system. This set of researchers further suggested working with each individual client on the proper lifting technique suitable for his/her body and lifting situation using the “calm tissue down, build tissue up, improve work capacity” system. (1) Dr. Butwell typically looks at each of our Georgetown chiropractic patients and presents ideas on managing and preventing back pain with exercise and other approaches.


There are some techniques that may support us all when lifting. A special lifting trick referred to as BATT (a braced arm to thigh, one-handed lifting method to pick up objects with the dominant hand) substantially reduced low back loading while lifting items of 2 to 10 kg. Trunk flexion angles were significantly reduced. Compressive and anterior-posterior shear forces were significantly lower as well compared with unsupported lifting techniques. (2) That is an easy lifting tip we know our Georgetown chiropractic clients|we can all do! Lifting slowly is another idea that reportedly lowered loads on the lumbar spinal elements. Stoop lifting had a greater lumbar spine lordosis range of motion and created lower total and compressive lumbar loads than squat lifting (except at L5S1 where anterior shear loads were greater) and freestyle lifting. (3) So slow down when lifting. Use your quads to squat lift. (If they’re not very strong, let’s talk about strengthening them!)

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Listen to this PODCAST with Dr. Tyler Lomnicki on The Back Doctors Podcast with Dr. Michael Johnson as he describes care of a man with a disc herniation among other issues for which The Cox® Technic System of Spinal Pain Management of spinal manipulation contributed to his relief. 

Schedule your Georgetown chiropractic appointment with Dr. Butwell today. When simple tasks like lifting objects off the floor become difficult, know that Dr. Butwell is available to help find a way to make them better and troublefree for you and your spine!

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