Dr. Butwell Shares Tips for Lifting Safely to Prevent Back Pain

June 01, 2021

Have you heard how lifting can be hard on a low back? If you are a Georgetown chiropractic patient with low back pain, you have! You have likely even experienced it personally. Dr. Butwell explains proper lifting techniques with our back pain patients in the beginning of treatment. It’s important to protect the spine while it heals! New studies report that back supports and even hand support techniques during lifting can help.


Mechanical loading is a key risk factor for low back pain. The loading may be from a heavy or light object that prompts Georgetown back pain. Much of how the pain comes on is due to how the back muscles act during the lift. Newly designed “exoskeletons” are being tried. They go beyond a back brace but show some promise in decreasing lumbar flexion and lowering the compressive force on the back by 13-21% while bending. Peak compressive force during lifting was decreased by 14%. The researchers are optimistic that such devices could lower the risk of compression-related tissue failure while lifting. (1) For now, Dr. Butwell focuses on what’s available widely today to help our Georgetown back pain patients control their back pain once the pain is lessened by controlling their spine-related movements.


It would seem that there would be a huge difference in spine action between picking up a pencil and lifting a crate, but there isn’t much difference when discussing how the low back responds while lifting. Interesting! Researchers explored how most people pick things up off the floor – with a hand on a thigh for support – made a difference. They proposed that it would lead to decreased load on the back. The volunteers lifted two kinds of things - a pencil and a crate - off the floor with researchers logging every move and muscle response. Getting the pencil with a hand on a thigh for support while bending over decreased the average peak total stresses by 17 to 25% (depending on the lifting method). Hand support while lifting the crate dropped the peak total stresses by 13-19% for one-handed lifting and 14-26% for two-handed lifting. (2) Hand support during lifting may help the low back. Dr. Butwell has some other approaches to limit lifting stresses on the spine to control Georgetown back pain and its reappearance: support belts to exercise to spinal manipulation to back school. It’s a comprehensive treatment plan you’ll want to embrace!

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Listen to the PODCAST with Dr. Matthew Alexander on the Back Doctors Podcast with Dr. Michael Johnson as he describes the effective, gentle treatment with the Cox® Technic System of Spinal Pain Management for his patient with spinal stenosis and low back pain.                                       

Schedule your next Georgetown chiropractic appointment with Dr. Butwell. Lifting can stress the lumbar spine. Chiropractic care eases the stress on the lumbar spine for back pain relief.  Contact us today!

Dr. Butwell presents research on lifting’s risks for triggering back pain as well as ways to prevent it.