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Back and Neck Care

The Right Way to Push and Pull

It's easy to forget that pushing and pulling motions don't affect just the arms and legs. Pushing and pulling can also be harmful to your back. Like many motions involving the back, there's a right way and a wrong way to push and pull. Follow these tips to help protect your back:

If you have to push a light load:

  • Bend the knees a bit while keeping your ears, shoulder, and hips in line.

  • Pull in and tighten the belly muscles.

  • Lean toward the object to be pushed and then use your legs and the force of your body weight to move the object forward.

  • Take little steps to reduce strain on your back.

If you have to push a heavy load, follow the steps above, remembering to keep your back straight, not hunched.

If you have to pull a load:

  • Keeping your knees bent, face the object.

  • Walk backward while pulling the object, being careful not to twist the body.

  • When pulling with 1 hand, place the other hand on the hip to help keep you balanced and stable without twisting.

  • Lean back, but keep your arms straight so that your body rather than your back pulls the load. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Ogiela, Dennis, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 9/3/2015
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