Our physiotherapists and chiropractors at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown Toronto see many patients with lower back pain issues. One of the most common source of strain to the lower back occurs with poor bending form. Therefore, it is important to learn how to use good biomechanics while bending such as when you sit down into a chair or when you bend over to pick up an object that has fallen to the floor.
A commonly flawed way of bending is to lean forward at the waist. This motion leads to flexion (rounding) in the lower spine, placing the low back in a potentially harmful position; repeatedly doing this motion has been attributed to disc bulges, or worse, disc herniations. Ideally, you want to keep your spine upright and in a neutral position by hinging from the hips as you bend your knees. This hip hinge action will help prevent repetitive strain to your lower back. If you are unsure how to do this, our physiotherapists and chiropractors can help show you how to do this correctly.
Implementing the hip hinge to all your daily activities – be it getting out of a chair, bending down at the sink to brush your teeth, or lifting, is easier than you think with a little conscious effort. Rising or lowering from a seated position should be done by squatting up or down using your hips and knees – again, avoiding stooping forward from the waist. Widening your stance to create a broader center of gravity will help promote the squatting motion, and enable the hinging action through your hips.
Knowing when to bend or lift is imperative as well:
- Avoid lifting during the first half hour of the day. Your spine retains the most fluid upon first getting out of bed – thus increasing your chances of a disc bulge or herniation. Also, you are likely most stiff after lying down for many hours, thus increasing risk of injury in general.
- Avoid lifting after prolonged sitting (greater than 30 minutes), for similar reasons of stiffness potentially increasing your risk of injury.
Many low back injuries can be directly attributed to improper bending and lifting. Taking a moment to implement the proper technique could likely save you from pain and suffering down the road. If you are suffering from any type of strain in your lower back, contact us today to book an appointment with one of our highly-trained physiotherapists or chiropractors.