One sure way to risk injuring the back is to lift heavy or bulky loads improperly or unassisted. The unsupported back cannot operate like a derrick or a crane boom. Lifting with the back twisted or bent just begs for a pulled muscle or ruptured disc. The back can be damaged quickly but can take a long time to heal. So I encourage everyone lifting to use good sense and a little extra help from a friend or mechanical aid.

It’s important squat over the item to be lifted, and face it squarely. In this position, the back gets added lifting strength and power from the legs and arms. Make sure you are close to the item, because the backbone must act as a supporting column, and it takes the least strain close in. In this position, you are ready to lift. Still squatting, the feet should be set with legs pointed right at the load, with the back straightened, you may then grasp the load with both arms and slowly stand up with it.

A good way to help friends learn the right from the wrong way to lift, is to have them practice lifting correctly a few times. You will notice that the correct way to lift is the easiest way to lift the load, with the least strain and awkwardness. To lift the wrong way will, over time, cause injury and pain and then no one will be laughing.

This addition to SLOCOMassage.com has been contributed by Evan Steed, Vice President and Co-Founder of Meathead Movers.