When most Americans think of the months of October and November, an image of pumpkins naturally comes to mind. There are pumpkin patches, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin deserts, pumpkin soups, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, pumpkin festivals. You name it! During this time of year, pumpkins are truly everywhere! While pumpkins are very festive and seem harmless enough, many people end up injuring their backs while trying to lift a very heavy pumpkin during the fall season. Since we want you to enjoy this time of year instead of suffering though it, we thought we would put together a few pointers of how to properly lift a heavy pumpkin (or any other heavy object for that matter)!
Posture & Strategy Are Everything
First, always be careful to keep your spine straight. Naturally, most people will try and bend over to lift a heavy pumpkin. Bad idea! When you bend over at the waist to lift a heavy object, you are putting great stress on your intervertebral disks, which an lead to injury. If you make a conscious effort to keep your spine straight when lifting, you will put a lot less stress on your back. Next up – don’t be shy! Get as close to that gigantic pumpkin as you can. When you are far away, you will have to bend forward which is not good for your back. When you are close to the pumpkin and ready to lift, be sure to squat, point your buttocks outward, bend your knees, wrap your arms around the orange pumpkin body (not the stem), and use your legs and buttocks to slowly lift, again, while keeping your spine as straight as possible. While we all want to impress our friends (and maybe children) with our pumpkin lifting power, it is important to never hold a heavy pumpkin for a long period of time. Be sure to have a wheelbarrow, cart, or vehicle ready to transport your pumpkin.
Say No When Necessary
If your child or family member is pressuring you to pick-up a gigantic pumpkin that you know is simply too heavy, don’t be afraid to explain your concerns and simply say ‘no.’ Opting for several smaller pumpkins can be just as much fun and festive as having a big gigantic one – plus you will be able to enjoy the seasonal decorations without dealing with back pain or an injury.
Injuries generally occur when we least expect them. By thinking before acting and being well-informed on steps to take to minimize your chance of injuring your spine in different situations, you can keep your spine healthy and decrease the risk of dealing with spine-related injuries and pain.
Ask For Help
Staff members are always present at pumpkin patches. Even if you came for the experience of picking your own pumpkin, never hesitate or be embarrassed to ask a staff member for assistance – even if your kids do pick on you a little. Protecting your spine while getting your pumpkin will enable you to take in the season while feeling great and having no worries about pain or injuries. So which will it be…hot cocoa, a pumpkin spiced latte or caramel apple cider? Enjoy!