Heavy Lifting

All of us who’ve experienced a back injury of one sort or another have been told at some point to “avoid heavy lifting.” That type of advice appears to be a no-brainer or at least redundant, as no one whose back is hurting is going to try to pick up an air conditioner or even a 100-foot reel of garden hose. In this context, it’s important to remember the words of Shakespeare’s Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”. The problem isn’t the heavy lifting, as such. The real problem is in us, that is, in our overall level of conditioning or physical fitness.

Most back injuries don’t occur as a result of heavy lifting, but rather are caused by a seemingly innocuous event such as bending over in the shower to retrieve a bar of soap that has fallen to the floor. Other likely pain-producing scenarios are bending over to place a bag of groceries in the trunk of a car bending over to tie a loose shoelace. None of these circumstances involved lifting extraordinary weight. Rather, the common elements are lack of flexibility and lack of appropriate muscle tone and strength to support the weight of your body in a forward flexed position.

The problem isn’t lack of big muscles. Picking up a bar of soap or positioning a 15-pound grocery bag doesn’t require bulging biceps or massive lats. The problem is lack of conditioning. Most of us no longer do actual physical work on a regular basis. We spend the large majority of our day sitting, either working, reading, or watching entertainment on television or other devices. The result of such lack of activity is twofold. Muscles lose strength and muscle fibers are replaced by fat. Additionally, tendons and ligaments contract and become tight, losing their necessary composition of elastic fibers. The functional loss associated with these physiological changes is profound. We experience these change every time we feel a twinge, or worse, in our backs.

The fix is easy and primarily focuses on building up core muscle strength.1,2 Core training is directed toward your deep abdominal muscles. The main such muscle is the transverses abdominis, which surrounds your entire waist, protecting and supporting your lower back. You can think of this critically important structure as your internal weight belt. Activation of the core muscles is required for all effective physical activity.3 Without this essential foundation, any minor attempt at work, even bending over to pick up a pencil, can lead to disaster in the form of excruciating back pain.

Core training includes exercises such as the scorpion, lying windmill with bent legs, pushups, squats, and the plank. Many good books and numerous online videos are available to provide instruction in the performance of core exercises. Your chiropractor is experienced in rehabilitative exercise and will help guide you to the training methods that are best for you.

1Inani SB, Selkar SP: Effect of core stabilization exercises versus conventional exercises on pain and functional status in patients with non-specific low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil 26(1):37-43, 2014

2Brumitt J, et al: Core stabilization exercise prescription, part 2: a systematic review of motor control and general (global) exercise rehabilitation approaches for patients with low back pain. Sports Health 5(6):510-3, 2013

3Wang XQ, et al: A meta-analysis of core stability exercise versus general exercise for chronic low back pain. PLoS One 2012;7(12):e52082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052082. Epub 2012 Dec 17

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Life would not be the same without Dr. Jayne! In addition to being the loveliest and most caring person, she's an extraordinary chiropractor. She truly has healing hands, an incredible knowledge of the body (MY body!), an uncanny gift for knowing exactly what the issue is right away, and then correcting it effectively. I always know I can rely on her to correct my neck and back issues when they arise, sometimes just after one visit. And Dr. Lou and Jayne's staff are wonderful - kind and patient, and always extremely helpful. I wouldn't go anywhere else."
    Beth B
  • "Dr Jayne and Dr Lou are both amazing! They offer not just great care, but a warm, welcoming atmosphere— truly family friendly! They go above and beyond and truly care about the whole patient, well beyond chiropractic care. Dr Jayne has offered amazing support and solace through my journey as a new mom and I will always be grateful!"
    Katherine G.
  • "Absolutely amazing ! First, the staff was very friendly. I am 8 months pregnant and I've had a lot of back/shoulder pain, and the doctor Jayne was very friendly and professional. You can tell she know what she's doing. She did an amazing job, when I got up from the chair I felt like I was 10 years old again ! My pain was completely gone. I am so happy I have found that place !"
    Manon J S.
  • "I've seen a whole bunch of chiropractors and Lou and Jayne are the best, by far. They're also two of the sweetest people I know."
    Scott C.
  • "I have no words to express my gratitude for Dr. Jayne. I was looking for a Webster Technique chiropractor during my pregnancy and I am so happy I found her. Thanks to her treatments we were able to turn the baby in optimal position and avoid any kind of medical interventions during delivery. But most of all, I valued her precious advice and physical and emotional support during before and after my baby was born. The most beautiful moment of all was giving my son his very first adjustment when he was only couple of days old. I definitely recommend her and her team!"
    Marija R.
  • "Dr Lou and Dr Jayne are fantastic. They've put my spine back in line and are always the nicest people to work with."
    Gerry G
  • "Friendly and welcoming. I enjoy my visits here as they are short and sweet, and really contribute overall health. Twice a week was all I needed and it has changed my world."
    Carlos C
  • "Dr. Lou has taken care of me for close to 20 years. ALWAYS spot on and just an amazing staff. Thank you for all you do."
    Marc W
  • "For two days I have been dealing with that ache in my bicep and having to stretch my hand and it constantly cracking...within minutes of leaving your office from my adjustment my ache is gone and no need to stretch the hand and when I did no cracking. Magic Hands I tell ya!!"
    Janice Bowman
  • "I highly recommend Family Chiropractors for all you health needs ..... From a tune up to a serious issue they will bring you back to the road of recovery ..... They are knowledgable and listen to your needs and concerns ..... I have gone to Dr Lou for over 10 years and I will tell you as a runnner and a yogi you can not find someone better or more caring ... Give them a try ... I believe you will be glad you did and so will your body."
    Thomas Randazzo
  • "It's miraculous how they make me feel better so quickly!"
    Richard Reiter
  • "Drs. Lou and Jayne are the best. Wonderful with even the very youngest children and babies, all the way to folks in later life. Friendly, personable, and strong at what they do -- each with his or her own style. Great to have appointments with both of them! They also have things like a water massage table, which is a wonderfully relaxing mini-escape, and laser treatments for things like carpal tunnel. They are also a gay-friendly business, which encourages me to refer more folks to them."
    Elizabeth Schroeder
  • "Love that place"
    Joe V