When it comes time for spring lawn work, a wheelbarrow is a common tool of the trade. But pushing a wheelbarrow is hard work, and if you aren't careful how you do it, you can hurt your back. If you receive chiropractic adjustment for low back strain or injury due to pushing a wheelbarrow, there are common sense tips your chiropractor may recommend to prevent a recurrence.
When shoveling mulch or soil into a wheelbarrow, avoid overloading it. If you fill the wheelbarrow too full, you have to push it harder, which can strain muscles in the hips and back or lead to back injury. Move your entire body and avoid twisting at the spine as you shovel contents into a wheelbarrow.
Push the contents of the load toward the front end of the tub opposite the handles. That way, the job of pushing the filled wheelbarrow will be easier on your back. Since most of the weight of the load is at the wheel end, the rear of the tub where you are pushing is lighter.
You can also prevent placing excessive stress on your back by pointing the wheelbarrow in the direction you want to go once you load it. When you are ready to move the load, push the wheelbarrow forward at your normal walking pace.
Before lifting a wheelbarrow, position yourself by placing your body in between the two handles. Use an underhand grip and straighten your legs as you lift the wheelbarrow straight up. Rely on the strong muscles in your legs and not your back to lift and push.
Bend from the hips and knees to give you more leverage when lifting a wheelbarrow to push it. When lifting the weight of a filled wheelbarrow, you can help prevent shoulder and neck strain by using your entire body as leverage.
Keep a one-wheel wheelbarrow balanced so that it doesn't tip to one side straining your arms, shoulders, or back. When pushing heavy loads, a wheelbarrow with two wheels is easier to balance.
A two-wheeler also takes less effort to push it forward, reducing the risk of straining muscles in your back. You may be asking for trouble if you use only your arms, back, and shoulders to push a wheelbarrow.
Straighten your body before dumping the contents of a wheelbarrow. Lean the weight of your body in to keep from straining or injuring your back. Keep your wrists straight when you dump the contents from the tub. If a filled wheelbarrow is too heavy to lift it to dump, remove a shovelful or two of the load before lifting.