Frequent lifting does more good than harm for one's back, according to a researcher in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Tapio Videman said disc degeneration is the main suspected origin of severe back symptoms and the main target in spine surgery.
But he challenged the common perception that disc degeneration is caused by physical loading, the pressure put on the spine that comes with, for example, frequent lifting.
Videman's research team found that more physical loading might in fact slightly delay disc degeneration as it's known to be good for the bones, muscles and tendons.
They studied identical male twins where one of the siblings was, on average, 29 pounds heavier than the other.
He said that the most prevalent source of physical loading is what each individual is carrying around on a daily basis- his or her own body weight.
The study found that there was no evidence that the loading in the form of extra body weight was harmful to the person's spinal discs.
In fact, the heavier twin had slightly less disc degeneration compared to the lighter twin.
Videman concluded that routine physical loading is not bad for a disc, within limits.
He said that the findings have immediate implications for preventative strategies and patient education.
In his opinion, people who are unsure about physical-loading activities while at work, home or at the gym because of fear of harming their back, should challenge their spines by gradually increasing daily physical loading.