Two articles on PainSci cite Dreischarf 2016: 1. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 2. Don’t Worry About Lifting Technique
PainSci commentary on Dreischarf 2016: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This experiment measure spinal loading in three patients using special spinal implants that actually replace a (damaged) vertebrae with a gadget that measures forces. Very cyborg! The actual test was extremely simple: they just compared forces as measured by the implant in squats versus stoops. The difference was negligible! Squatting is the supposedly “correct” and safe way to lift, but it caused only 4% less load on tissues.
The current in vivo biomechanical study does not provide evidence that spinal loads differ substantially between stoop and squat lifting.
This conclusion casts a lot of doubt on the value of advice to “lift with your legs, not your back.”
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
The repeated lifting of heavy weights has been identified as a risk factor for low back pain (LBP). Whether squat lifting leads to lower spinal loads than stoop lifting and whether lifting a weight laterally results in smaller forces than lifting the same weight in front of the body remain matters of debate. Instrumented vertebral body replacements (VBRs) were used to measure the in vivo load in the lumbar spine in three patients at level L1 and in one patient at level L3. Stoop lifting and squat lifting were compared in 17 measuring sessions, in which both techniques were performed a total of 104 times. The trunk inclination and amount of knee bending were simultaneously estimated from recorded images. Compared with the aforementioned lifting tasks, the patients additionally lifted a weight laterally with one hand 26 times. Only a small difference (4%) in the measured resultant force was observed between stoop lifting and squat lifting, although the knee-bending angle (stoop 10°, squat 45°) and trunk inclination (stoop 52°, squat 39°) differed considerably at the time points of maximal resultant forces. Lifting a weight laterally caused 14% less implant force on average than lifting the same weight in front of the body. The current in vivo biomechanical study does not provide evidence that spinal loads differ substantially between stoop and squat lifting. The anterior-posterior position of the lifted weight relative to the spine appears to be crucial for spinal loading.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.