No BLTs — At Least Not All Three at the Same Time
Disclaimer: By “No BLTs” I do not actually mean no bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches. I just needed to get your attention, and it’s a good way to remember this tip.
Often, after spine surgery, doctors restrict patients in recovery from any and all Bending/Lifting/Twisting. Over the years this has become known as the “No BLTs” restriction. In reality, it’s a good reminder for anyone trying to avoid a back injury because combinations of bending, lifting, and twisting are the most common ways backs are injured.
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad
A lot of common activities of daily living involve a combination of two of the three BLTs: getting in/out of the car, getting in/out of bed, dressing/undressing, loading/unloading the dishwasher, etc. Generally speaking, two out of three ain’t bad. You usually won’t injure a healthy back with these activities. That said, if your back is bothering you, you need to be careful with any activity involving two out of three BLTs.
This means try to either bend, OR lift, OR twist instead of bending AND lifting, or twisting AND lifting, or bending AND twisting.
Three Out of Three Is Bad
It’s when you do three out of three that you are most at risk. These activities often involve a combination of three out of three BLTs: loading/unloading groceries, loading/unloading a child into a car seat, doing laundry, making beds, vacuuming, shoveling snow, etc.
This means at the very least SLOW DOWN, BE CAREFUL, and USE CAUTION when doing these types of activities. Being mindful of the risks of BLTs will go a long way with helping you avoid a back injury.
Tip #3 − No BLTs. i.e. avoid activities that involve combinations of bending, lifting, twisting.