For the majority of us, we lift, carry, and twist regularly as part of our daily lives but without the constant safety reminders. We lift and carry babies, backpacks, grocery bags, and more, depending on our lifestyle. We aren't always conscious of our own health when lifting daily objects and we most likely aren't paying attention to the rules of lifting and carrying.
To help you achieve better lifting and carrying practices in your daily routines, chiropractors, Doctors of Chiropractic, have some general recommendations for you below.
If you are grocery shopping for a few items, it is tempting to grab the hand held basket rather than a push cart. If you are only getting a few light items, you are probably okay to carry the hand basket. The best way to carry the basket is to hold it by the handle with both hands, centered close to your torso. Avoid carrying on one side or hanging on your wrist. Ultimately, chiropractors recommend that you go ahead and use the push cart even if you think you are only going to get a few light items. Let's face it, quite often those few items expand to more items and the next thing you know you are trying to carry dinner for the entire soccer team in your hand basket. Ouch, imagine the strain on your spine.
Babies and Toddlers
We aren't likely to quit lifting our babies, holding, and twisting with them in our arms, but if we remember a few simple rules, we can keep our backs strong and healthy, even with baby in tow. We know saying no is to their little eyes is just not an option. First, if you are experiencing any current back or neck pain, avoid lifting and holding the baby until you have seen your chiropractor to have your spine checked. If holding a baby or toddler will be a regular occurrence for you, work on strengthening your core muscles (abdominals, back, hips) so that you have a strong, solid foundation with which to support the child. Be sure you spine is aligned and adjusted and holding the child close to your center (torso) is best. The further away from your center, the more stress on your joints and back. A chiropractor can help you customize a conditioning program to strengthen your core.
Whether you are carrying a book backpack, beach or camping backpack, or even your baby in a backpack, be sure that you use a backpack that is as lightweight as possible yet sturdy enough to handle the job. Get a pack with adjustable straps and then take the time to adjust the straps to your specifications. Make sure that the weight of your precious cargo is evenly distributed across your back and hips. Weight that is leaning to one side or the other can pull the body out of alignment causing unnecessary wear and tear. Weight that is centered too high or low can cause pressure and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. If the weight is still uncomfortable or feels too heavy even after adjusting your backpack, chiropractors recommend switching to a backpack on rollers with a handle, or switch your baby to a baby carriage.