Prepare For Spring Now!
With warmer weather approaching (although the single digit weather may suggest otherwise), you should begin preparing for yard work and gardening! There are a few simple things that you can do to ensure that you won’t end up in our clinic. One of those things is to lift with your legs, not your back.
Many people misinterpret this suggestion and think “if I bend my knees more I will not use my back.” It is correct bending your knees will utilize the muscles on the front of your leg but, squatting down is not always appropriate for lifting an object off the ground. Simply bending your knees may put you in an awkward position, set you off balance and put your back in a vulnerable position.
What we mean by using your legs instead of your back is that your back must always stay in a neutral position while you use the muscles on the back of your leg to do the work. To keep a neutral spine position, first contract the muscles of your buttocks to set your hip in the correct position. Then, push your chest out and pull your shoulder back to fix your upper back in place. Last, tighten up your abdominals and make sure your sternum isn’t sticking out to keep your lower back from being over-arched.
To pick an object off the ground position your feet as close to the object as possible. Keep a neutral spine and bend at the hip by shifting your hips backward and leaning over the object. It is ok to bend your knees as well. Grab the object brace your stomach and contract your legs and reverse the motion.