Rehabilitation How to Properly Lift Items By Centers for Rehab Services, May 16, 2014 With 30 million Americans experiencing back pain at any given time, it’s a common complaint from people of all ages. One of the most common causes of back pain is improper lifting techniques. Rushing to pick up an item or underestimating its weight can lead to back injuries. Brian Caricato, DPT, regional director, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services, recommends following these steps to ensure proper lifting technique and help reduce the risk of injuring your back. Proper Lifting Technique Keeping your feet shoulder width apart and your back straight squat down behind the object Place hands on either side of the object Using your abdominal muscles for assistance, begin to straighten your knees and stand up Remember lift with your legs, not your back To Avoid Injury While Lifting Shoulders and hips should always be facing the same direction Keep object as close to your chest as possible Ask for help when necessary Any time you do injure your back while lifting, follow these steps: Use heat or ice to relieve pain Take one dosage of a pain reliever Take it easy for a day or two If pain persists longer than a week or is through your legs, contact your doctor If you are in serious pain, or if the pain lasts longer than a week, contact your doctor.