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The Chiropractor's Guide to Better Posture: A Better Way to Pick Things Up

On the daily, we are often tasked with the seemingly simple activity of picking things up from the floor. Especially if you have children, it’s a constant up and down whether it's toys, laundry, or a dropped water bottle, the repetitive motion of bending over can take a toll on our backs and posture. Life moves fast, and we’re often in a hurry to pick up the item that fell or clean up the play room. To safely get to these items on the floor only takes a few extra seconds and can be a saver to your back. Today, I want to share a better, safer way to lift items from the ground that will protect your back and engage the right muscle groups.

We want to avoid unnecessary abnormal flexion from the common method of bending at the waist to pick something up. We should be using our glutes and pelvis/hip to bend over. When we get lazy and do the quick bend we are creating more stress in the lumbar spine and lumbar muscles. This places stress on the lower back, specifically on the lumbar spine. Over time, this can lead to muscle strain, disc issues, and chronic pain. 

Try a safer approach by getting down in a half kneeling position Instead of bending from the waist. You can also get down to both knees. You can also leverage your non standing leg as a counter weight when reaching down.  And, rather than picking up toys and having to stand up multiple times, I keep baskets around the house to collect toys and other items.

Let’s look at all of that a bit closer: 

  • Stand close to the item you intend to pick up, minimizing the distance between your body and the object. This protects your muscles and loading force on the spine. 

  • Gently lower one knee to the floor, keeping the other foot flat on the ground in front of you (half kneeling, proposal pose). Now you are closer to the items you want to pick up. 

  • Before lifting, tighten your abdominal muscles. This engages your core and provides stability for your spine.

  • Kneeling on both knees gets you closer to the items on the floor. Turn your entire body to position yourself to be straight on with the items. 

  • When leaning forward in a half kneeling or both knees on the floor you can put an arm on the floor to help support as you reach. 

  • Standing on one leg, lift the other leg straight behind you. Like a teeter totter. The back leg will be your counter weight as your upper body and hands reach down to the floor. 

Doing this to protect your back provides various benefits:

  • Reduced Back Strain

  • Engages the Right Muscles

  • Promotes Good Posture

  • Versatility

Incorporating this lifting technique into your daily routine may take some practice, but the benefits to your spine are well worth the effort. Remember, the goal is to make this a natural part of how you move, protecting your back for years to come. As a chiropractor, my goal is to help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back. Using safer lifting techniques can significantly reduce your risk of injury and promote long-term spinal health. Click HERE to see it in action! 

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