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How To Bend Without Hurting Your Back



One of the more common things I see in practice are patients who report an acute onset of lower back pain when they bend over to pick up something small, like a pencil or a sheet of paper.  Clearly, the object being retrieved is not the source of the lower back pain as in a lifting injury, but rather the biomechanics of how the repeatedly bend throughout the day.   I also have patients that by teaching them to bend properly, reduced the incidence of acute lower back pain by 80% last year.

So what is the big bending secret?  Most people have the tendency to bend forward by rounding their lower back or lumbar spine.  This motion reverses the normal lumbar curve and places undo stress on the lumbar vertebra and discs.  The intervertebral discs are made up of two sections; the soft gelatinous nucleus pulposis and the strong, fibrous annulus.  Over time, with the biomechanical stress place by improper bending the annulus may become frayed and the nucleus with protrude through causing a disc bulge or herniation.  Bending in the lumbar spine also puts strain on the lumbar musculature and can cause a muscle strain or spinal segmental dysfunction.

To bend properly you should “hinge” at your hips rather than rounding the lumbar spine.  By doing so, you use the large ball and socket joints of the hip that are designed for this type of motion.  Hinging at the hips allows for maximum, efficient motion and spares the structures of the spine while strengthening the core muscles and stretching the hamstrings.

To Properly Hip Hinge:

·         Place your feet about 12 inches apart.

·         Keep your back straight.

·         Contract “the core” by tightening the abdominal muscles.

·         Keep your back straight.

·         As you soften your knees, allow the pubic bone to move backward.

·         Rotate forward around the hip sockets.

For more information on preventing back pain or injury contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660