We’ve all heard it in passing: “Lift with your legs, not with your back!”

Sometimes, all it takes is one wrong move to kick start lingering back pain. And it doesn’t discriminate, either. Anyone – any age, any gender, with or without a medical condition – can suffer from back pain.

“Usually, it’s time to come see an orthopedic specialist when you have pain that’s lasted a couple of weeks. This is pain that’s not going away, and has been getting in the way of your daily life. Maybe you’ve been seeing a chiropractor or your primary care physician for this problem, and it’s continuing.

Other times where it would be important for a patient to come and see me would be if suddenly you’re weak, you have neck or arm pain, or if the pain is going down your leg. In emergency cases, patients may have spinal problems that cause them to have bowel or bladder changes. Then it’s definitely time to see an orthopedic specialist.” 

Dr. Franco Vigna

Orthopedic Surgeon, Catholic Health

How to Keep Your Back Healthy

Whether you’re lifting heavy objects as part of your daily job, or for recreational purposes, lifting with the legs avoids back injuries when moving an unusually heavy item. Though the benchmark commonly given is 50 pounds or more, that’s not to say that items of a lesser weight are incapable of causing injury. 

Make stretching part of your routine.

Practicing flexibility is quite important, as it can strengthen your back muscles and prevent injury. Activities like yoga and Pilates promote flexibility in their practice, but it’s also as simple as stretching when you wake up in the morning, or before you work out.

To move the item, move your feet.

Even if you’re only transporting the object a short distance, move from point A to point B with your whole body, rather than just twisting around. Carrying a heavy object while contorting your back puts you at risk for injury.

Engage your legs and core.

The proper lifting technique is when your stability comes from your legs and core, not your back. Take care to position yourself properly before you lift. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, and drop your hips back.

Don’t wait to get a professional opinion.

If back pain persists for 4-6 weeks, make no attempts to self-diagnose or remedy your problems. Instead, make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, or talk to your primary care doctor about getting a referral. 

Find a Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 923-7153

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You
Call (716) 923-7153