Two articles on PainSci cite Nolan 2017: 1. Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 2. Don’t Worry About Lifting Technique
PainSci summary of Nolan 2017: ?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 survey found that about 75% of physical therapists believe that lifting with a straight back is safer … because lifting with a rounded back is more risky. Unsurprisingly, professionals with this opinion also have more “negative back beliefs” (that is, they tend to believe the back is more fragile and vulnerable).
~ 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.
BACKGROUND: It is commonly believed lifting is dangerous and the back should be straight during lifting. These beliefs may arise from healthcare professionals, yet no study has evaluated the lifting and back beliefs of manual handling advisors (MHAs) and physiotherapists (PTs).
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate (i) what lifting technique MHAs and PTs perceive as safest, and why, and (ii) the back pain beliefs of MHAs and PTs.
DESIGN: Data was collected via an electronic survey.
METHOD: Participants selected the safest lifting posture from four options: two with a straight back and two with a more rounded back, with justification. Back beliefs were collected via the Back-Pain Attitudes Questionnaire (Back-PAQ). Relationships were investigated using multiple linear and logistic regression models.
RESULTS: 400 PTs and MHAs completed the survey. 75% of PTs and 91% of MHAs chose a straight lifting posture as safest, mostly on the basis that it avoided rounding of the back. MHAs scored significantly higher than PTs on the Back-PAQ instrument (mean difference = 33.9), indicating more negative back beliefs. Those who chose the straight back position had significantly more negative back beliefs (mean 81.9, SD 22.7) than those who chose a round back lift (mean 61.7, SD 21.1).
CONCLUSION: Avoiding rounding the back while lifting is a common belief in PTs and MHAs, despite the lack of evidence that any specific spinal posture is a risk factor for low back pain. MHAs, and those who perceived a straight back position as safest, had significantly more negative back beliefs.
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:
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.
- Association Between Plantar Fasciitis and Isolated Gastrocnemius Tightness. Nakale 2018 Foot Ankle Int.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.