Never twist your body when holding something. It is common for me to ask a patient with low back pain how he hurt his back and he responds that he was holding a heavy box and twisted his back. This is one common way to cause a disc in the low back (lumbar spine) to bulge or herniate, which is a very common diagnosis in PT clinics. The complication associated with disc problems is that if a lumbar disc bulges out of its normal position, it can compress the nerves in the spine, causing pain and other symptoms into the leg or legs. It is much easier to prevent a disc herniation than to treat one after it occurs!
One common way for this to happen is while doing the laundry. Many people twist their bodies when putting clothes from the washer into the dryer. This is worsened because they are holding wet clothes while twisting their backs, causing more injury than if nothing were held. Instead, step over to the dryer, then squat to throw the clothes in. It takes a conscious effort every time, but just remember “step, squat, and toss.” It only takes one wrong twist to cause low back pain which could last for months or years, so avoid twisting—every time! Here is a video showing what not to do. I posted it a year ago, but it’s funny and worth another viewing.
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I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.
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