But I Just Bent Over To Pick Up A Pencil!

I hear it almost every day in practice, "I was helping a friend move, and now my back is killing me!"  With more than 1/3 of all moves happening during the summer, I've heard it a lot!  If you're anticipating a move this summer or even if you just got suckered into helping a buddy move, you will be lifting, bending, packing, reaching, climbing.  You need to ensure you don’t hurt yourself by lifting correctly. 

Lifting correctly Can HELP but it's not all!

Most of us already have some abnormal body function taking place.  If we lift and something ‘snaps,' the damage was most likely already there, just brought to the surface by the effort.  Your back doesn't slip while trying to pick up a pencil; it's simply not a sudden injury that occurs.  There has been a tremendous amount of research done over the past few years about why these seemingly random injuries take place, particularly during innocuous tasks. Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology uses muscles to determine different movement patterns.  

That being said, Applied Kinesiology doctors can often find out why the body becomes susceptible to injury from regular lifting.  Consider that the lower back muscles are intrinsic when you bend at the waist to pick up an object.  A doctor utilizing Applied Kinesiology can determine if there is sufficient integrity for regular lifting and if the stability of the lower back, at various joints, is vulnerable to injury.  There could be an issue of a displaced vertebra or torn fibers or ligaments, but more than likely it is a muscular imbalance that sets the spine up for injury when you're not properly lifting.

Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology can fix the cause of the problem!

This may surprise you, but your neck is important in stabilizing your lower back muscles.  It’s all connected!  Research in Applied Kinesiology has shown that if there’s a problem in the cervical spine (your neck), your lower back muscles can be inhibited and unbalanced.  While these muscles may be strong, they may not be neurologically intact and up to the task of a particular lift.  Especially if you don’t position your body for proper lifting, e.g., turning your head to talk to someone behind you (a regular occurrence if you’ve got friends helping!). Also, consider there is an association between your organs and your muscles.  

If you have an imbalance with, say, your kidney or liver, it may indeed affect your muscle movement.  One of the biggest things that I find in stabilizing the low back is the iliacus muscle that can be related to the junction between your small and large intestines (or your ICV). 

Honestly if you couple a dis-functioning ICV with improper lifting techniques that is when you are usually in trouble and at risk for severe low back pain. Here’s another example:  You're under stress, whether emotional, physical, chemical... doesn’t matter, your adrenal glands can be affected by this stress, and they’ll become exhausted. 

This can cause the sartorius muscle, which supports your pelvis and gives stability to your lower back, to not function well, meaning inadequate support of your whole frame.  This leaves you open to strains on your lower back for even simple tasks. With Applied Kinesiology and the correction of postural deviations, you can correct the factors causing the problems before the lifting injury occurs.  What follows should be a periodic maintenance.

Lifting Correctly

Like maintaining your car, keeping a strong and healthy body frame will make sure that you don’t need new ‘bearings,' or a new back. The age old rule which still holds true is:  lift from your legs, the ‘trunk’ of your body.  You need to think of your body artistically, that is, as a vertical axis - your ‘core.'  We, humans, are upright.  So, when we need to lift something we need to do it vertically.  We have knees that start the process.  Once begun it is our core, our torso, and our spine, that takes over. Bend, keep knees together, keep our spine vertical.  Think upright. Try thinking about your personal vertical axis, your own ‘core.'  Here’s how you move a heavy object off of a table:  Move it close to the edge, get it close to your chest.  Stay level, hold it close to your body, don’t spread your knees, stay upright.  Slowly move it off. If it’s too damn heavy, get a second person to help Don't be a freaking hero! Consider that before a move you should warm up and possibly stretch out your muscles, so they are not shocked, making them far more vulnerable to injury.

What to do if you weren't Lifting Correctly

I still prefer to use the R.I.C.E method for acute trauma!  This is Rest, Ice, Chiropractic (Applied Kinesiology), Elevation.  Also, I always have Arnica Montana (30C) at the house in case of injury.  If you do injury yourself, Call your Applied Kinesiologist and get an appointment Ice your back for 20 min on and 40 min off.  And start taking Arnica every 15 min or so for the first 3-6 hours.

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