Low back pain is one of the most common physical complaints worldwide. It is also number 1 on a Physiotherapists list of most commonly treated injuries.

Activity of the trunk muscles, especially the deep-seated muscles, is essential to control trunk stability and activation of the trunk muscles should occur prior to any movement. It has been reported that an individual changes the response of the trunk muscles depending on the weight of the object to be lifted, in order to control trunk stability. It is also known that various physical factors, such as delayed contraction of the transversus abdominis muscles (the deep-seated trunk muscles) and attenuated muscle activity of the back muscles have potential effects on chronic low back pain.

New research earlier this year by Japanese physicians at The Waseda University Faculty of Sport Sciences has found that ‘the trunk muscles may not function appropriately when individuals lift an object of unexpectedly heavy weight, and it is thought that these findings are related to the onset of low back pain’.  Until this time very few studies have ever examined the physiological effects of lifting an unknown weight.  What this means from a practical point of view is that our spines are much more vulnerable when we attempt to lift an item that we have no idea of the weight.  This is particularly pertinent coming up to the festive period where numerous people will be lifting boxes of Christmas decorations down from the attic, bags of Christmas shopping and crates of alcohol etc.

Physiotherapy has been recommended by the researchers to ensure that people who are regularly involved in lifting and manual handling of items of varying weights are screened to ensure that their lifting techniques are appropriate and they are able to activate their trunk muscles appropriately prior to lifting.  This has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of back injuries therefore keeping people fit and healthy.

If you feel this article affects you, book your appointment with one of our Chartered Physiotherapist’s in Bournemouth and Poole today to reduce your risk of low back pain this Christmas.  Contact us now on 01202 725090.

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