The lower back is an easy part of your body to injure and then once injured, it takes seemingly forever to heal. You would probably prefer to simply avoid hurting yourself in the first place and the key is using the proper technique when picking up heavy objects.
Wrong: Bending Over With Your Back
The incorrect way to pick up a heavy object would be to bend over while folding at the back. This looks a bit like a hunch-back posture while you're bending over. The reason this position is dangerous is because your body is acting like a lever and the fulcrum of the lever in this case is your lower back. The fulcrum is the part that actually gets the pressure applied to it. Your lower back was not designed to withstand high pressures at this strange angle, so it gets overwhelmed and you get injured. Ouch!
Better: Bending At the Waist
If you absolutely must bend over to pick up something heavy, you want to bend at the waist. To do this, simply look up while you are bending over. This will straighten your back and move the force onto your lower butt area, where you have much stronger muscles. You will know your form is correct when you feel a stretching sensation in your upper legs, below your booty.
Best: Up and Down Elevator Motion
While bending over at the waist is far better than bending over at the back, ideally you would not be bending over at all because you want to avoid using your body as a lever. Next time you need to pick up something heavy, try using a squatting motion instead. Directly move your body up and down like an elevator. It feels a little strange at first, but once you get used to it, you realize that your legs have far more power than your back. In addition, they are already optimized to move you in an up-down direction, so you aren't asking your muscles to do anything weird.
One Other Possible Culprit for Lower Back Pain: Your Bed
If you have lower back pain that seems to happen on a very consistent basis, rather than directly in response to an injury, you may want to consider that your mattress might be too soft. When a mattress is super soft, it partially sags from your body weight and this can put pressure on your back while you sleep (depending on your sleeping position). This was happening to me, but it was subtle enough that I didn't notice it for awhile. When I replaced my overly soft mattress with a firmer one (I use this mattress and this mattress topper), a lot of my ongoing back pain cleared up within a few days. It was wonderful.
We hope these techniques will help you stay injury and pain-free!
This article is about avoiding lower back pain. This is also known as sciatica, which is when the sciatic nerve gets agitated. I'm not sure if that is the same thing as a herniated disc, but sciatic nerve pain is miserable and lower back pain treatment is difficult. Lower back pain relief, free of back spasms, is easier to achieve by simply not hurting yourself in the first place!