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Lift With Care

Protect your back while lugging all the luggage around the airport

SUNDAY, Jan. 19, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- There's no better way to ruin a vacation than by lifting your luggage incorrectly. One wrong move can throw your back into a spasm of pain you won't want to carry with you.

Think about purchasing luggage with wheels or even a folding cart that can pack up and go with you. When you do need to lift your bags, follow these tips to keep your back in tip-top shape:

  • Don't lift objects that weigh more than 30 pounds, warns the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Only lift objects that are lower than your waist.
  • Before lifting, make sure you have a firm footing by placing your feet about eight to 12 inches apart.
  • Bend at the knees, not at the waist, keeping your back straight. Don't twist at the waist.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and use your leg muscles to lift.
  • Straighten your knees with a smooth, fluid motion.
  • Make sure you keep breathing steadily and that your movements are smooth and steady.
  • When you stand up, again bend only at the knees.
  • Keep the suitcase near your body, not away from you.
  • When you're ready to put it down, place your feet apart again, and bend at your hips and knees.
  • Another option, recommended by the North American Spine Society, is to kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor. Then stand up while keeping the suitcase as close to your body as possible.

More information

Read more about back injuries from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

SOURCES: Cleveland Clinic; North American Spine Society
Consumer News