Does it really matter how I move? Yes! It definitely matters how we move. Often, a person can “blow out his/her back” by bending over to pick up a pen on the floor. It wasn’t the pen that was so heavy. So what was it? It was the weight of the person’s upper body on the low back that caused the back pain. If I am going to lift a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator, I would not keep my elbow straight the entire time. I would reach into the refrigerator and grab the milk. Then I would bend my elbow and bring the milk towards my body to avoid stress and potential pain to my shoulder. In the same way, as I bend down to pick even the lightest of items off the floor or low shelf, I need to be intentional on how I move.
Hip hinging and knee bending are very important, intentional movements that should be occurring when the upper body is going forward to bend or stoop. This mindful action of hip hinging can considerably reduce a potential injury to the back. Consider brushing your teeth, shaving, sit to stand, and bending to pick something up off of a chair. As your upper body goes forward, a leg goes back to the same degree. Hip hinging is the way to move. Follow this rule of thumb to avoid back pain. Be intentional how you move. Please refer to the following pictures and videos for examples of how to and not to move when you bend or stoop.