Blue Mountain Health System Director of Rehabiliatation Services Gary Higgins advises using these guidelines to avoid back injury when lifting:

1. Bend your knees.

2. Keep your back straight, with the lower back curved inward.

3. Avoid bending forward at the waist, which can injure your back.

4. Lift with your legs, not your back.

5. When lifting, keep the item close to your body.

Higgins also recommends dividing heavy material in lighter loads. For example, two buckets that are half-full rather than fully-loaded bucket.

Also, take breaks - don't bend, stoop or crouch for a prolonged period. use knee pads to cushion the impact on your knees.