Improper Lifting can Stop a Spring Clean-Up Project before it Starts

April 5, 2012

Early springtime has arrived, and now it’s time to bring the snow blower to the basement and the furniture to the patio. Before making the seasonal switch, however, a local physician warns those who will be moving heavy objects to take precaution before even picking up cumbersome pieces. Improper lifting can cause serious injury.

Dr. Dermot More-O’Ferrall, a Milwaukee-area physician, has seen his share of patients whose chronic pain started with improper lifting. He warns spring is a time injuries occur because our bodies are often not used to a lot of physical activity coming out of winter. A day of strenuous work and heavy lifting can lead to muscle pain or even serious injury.

There are, however, a number of steps you can take to help avoid injury and enjoy the fruits of your labor without interruption or pain.

Dr. More-O’Ferrall specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Advanced Pain Management and offers a number of helpful tips to avoid injury when lifting, such as:

1. Think before you move – Before you lift a heavy object, decide where you are going with your object and the best path to get there safely, without too much turning or twisting. Also, be sure you can lift the object on your own. If the object is too heavy, always ask for help.

2. Start in a safe position – Stand with your legs hip distance apart, and place one leg slightly in front of the other. You can either squat to grab the object or move down into a kneeling position and grab the object. Be sure to keep your back upright and core muscles tight. If you are in a kneeling position, it might help to rest the object on your bent leg as you prepare to stand.

3. Lift with your legs – From a squat or kneeling position, tighten your core muscles, and lift straight upward with your legs – not your back. It is often helpful to hold the object close to your body as you lift.

4. Do not twist or turn – As you lift the object, be sure not to twist or turn from the waist. When you are ready to move with the object, let your feet lead the way. Twisting with a heavy object in tow can cause back injuries and muscle strains.

Advanced Pain Management is one of the largest pain management groups in the country, with 30 board-certified/eligible physicians offering the most advanced techniques for pain control. Advanced Pain Management physicians operate out of more than 40 locations in Wisconsin, including metro Milwaukee, the greater Madison area, Racine, Sheboygan and Green Bay, as well as in Mankato, Minn. You can find Advanced Pain Management online at, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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