This may seem trivial, but I found a way to lift things off the floor, as in heavy boxes and all, that just takes such a load off your back. Try it and see:
Bend your knees (your spine should remain relatively upright at all times, looking up helps), and put your elbow in the little depression just above your knee. Now, basically sit back a little bit, lever it up with your arms, then when balanced, stand up using your legs, never your back. Same idea applies when putting things back down, bend your knees, get the elbow onto the knee, and stay leaned back until it's down. Then lean back and use your legs to stand up, straightening your back first, and your knees last. You aren't likely to injure your back if you never bend from the waist. Only takes one brief wrong move, and there goes your week.
Lifting and twisting at the same time is asking for trouble. Keep your hips square to whatever you're lifting, and your feet on either side. Do the lifting, then move your feet to turn instead of twisting.
If you are having friends help you with a big move, be a buddy and show this to them.
And you could do a lot worse than to learn a little basic yoga; awareness of the psoas muscle (passes through the pelvis, anchors the tailbone in, but only if you know to use it) can literally change your whole life. True.
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