Lifting and Carrying Heavy Loads 399
How to carry safely:
• Carry objects close to your body.
• If possible, carry objects on your back rather than on
the side of your body. This way the muscles on one side
of your back do not need to do all the work. Carrying
loads on your side also makes your spine twist too much.
This can cause back strain.
• If you must carry objects on one side, try to switch sides
often. This way the muscles on both sides of your back
are working the same amount, and your spine twists both
ways. Or split the load and carry it on both sides.
• Try to avoid using head straps. They can strain your
If you already have back problems:
• Sleep on your back with a rolled cloth or
pillow under your knees. Or sleep on your
side with some rolled cloth behind your
back and another between your knees
to keep your body straight and
support the spine.
• Do the exercises on the next page
every day to strengthen the muscles
in your back and lower belly. Stop if any
of these exercises cause pain.
• Try to keep your back as straight as possible
during the day. Do not slump forward.
Bending forward for long periods of time—which women often do when
washing, farming, or with other chores—can cause back strain. If you must work
this way, try to stretch often. If you start to feel pain in your back, it can help to
try some different positions, like squatting or kneeling. Change positions often.
Do not bend
over at the
waist to reach
things on the
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