Tips to Avoid Back Injuries When Moving

woman unpackingMoving is stressful but here are some tips to avoid back injuries when moving.  With all your focus on trucks and boxes and packing, it can be easy to neglect proper safety procedures. Throwing out your back is easy to do during a move, but also preventable.

Proper Lifting

Anything can lead to a back injuries when moving if you are not careful.  There are steps you can take to lower your risk, such as lifting with your legs or supporting yourself with one hand on an object while you lift with the other hand. A one-handed lift should only be used for lightweight items. For heavy items, the MIT Environment Health and Safety Office suggests proper lifting techniques:

  • Hug it tight. Keep the item close and centered with your body.
  • Plan out your move. Before lifting an item, look at the room and create a plan in your head of how you are going to move it. If you are lifting with a partner, communicate how you are going to maneuver the item.
  • Lift with your core and bend at the knees. Never bend at your waist. Squat with your knees, tighten your core muscles and lift straight up.

Strengthen Your Back Before The Big Move

A few weeks before, incorporate stretches and exercises into your daily routine to help you prepare your back for the big move. By performing strength exercises to help your back, Men’s Fitness suggests you can lessen the risk of injuring your back or causing yourself unnecessary pain. Some back-strengthening exercises:

  • Lie flat on your back and place your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lift your hips, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  • Get on your hands and knees, keeping your legs hip-width apart and arms shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and slowly extend your right leg and left arm. Bring them back down and repeat with your left leg and right arm.
  • Lunging improves whole-body control and strengthens the spine. Place your hands on your hips and take a long step, bending your knees as you go. Push back to standing and do the other leg.

The Prevalence of Back Injuries

According to the American Chiropractic Association, the majority of cases aren’t caused by something severe, like fractures, infections or cancer. Instead, they’re caused by simple issues such as twisting wrong when lifting, improper sleeping positions and even poor posture, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Something as simple as improperly bending over to pick up a pen off the floor that fell from a box marked ‘office’ can cause a problem with your back.

Settling In and Getting Help

If you do injure yourself during a move, don’t assume it will just go away on its own. Getting help for a back injury is important. Find a community where you can discuss and learn more about back injuries and the various procedures so you don’t feel alone. More than 31 million Americans experience lower-back pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association, and you can learn a lot from those who have been there before you by visiting sites like Laser Spine Institute’s Youtube channel. Take care of your back pain early so you can get back to enjoying your new home and life sooner.

Kevin Jacobsen is a contractor, father and fisherman.

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