Take A Load Off: How To Protect Your Back While Moving

Back injuries are pretty common.  In fact, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated 75 to 85 percent of Americans will deal with back pain.  Lifting heavy objects, as you often do when you move, is one of the top causes for back pain.  Luckily, there are ways to protect your back while moving.

Pack Boxes Properly

If you pack your moving boxes properly, you'll be less likely to injure your back.  Follow these tips for proper packing:

  • Make sure the items in the box are securely packed and the weight is evenly distributed.  To ensure your boxes are evenly packed, place items of similar size, shape, and weight together. This will prevent loose pieces from moving around and causing the box to become unbalanced.  After all, if the box is balanced, you will be more likely to keep your balance too.
  • Use smaller boxes for heavier items, such as books.

Lighten your Load

Another easy way to prevent back injuries is to lighten your load.  To do so, follow these simple tips:

  • If a box or other item is more than 20 percent of your body weight, then you shouldn't move it alone.  By pushing a box with your foot or your hands, you can test its weight.  In addition, if you feel yourself straining, then the box is probably too heavy.
  • To make furniture lighter, remove all of the drawers and shelves first.  You can disassemble bed frames too.  

Proper Lifting Technique

Changing the way you lift items is the simplest way to prevent back injury.  Here are a few tips for lifting things properly:

  • When lifting, you should slowly squat down and then up.  Furthermore, bend at your knees, not your waist, and keep your back straight. This will prevent lower back strain
  • Keep moving boxes close to your body.  Reaching out can put unnecessary stress on your back.
  • Don't lift moving boxes or furniture above your armpit.  Instead, keep items between your shoulder and your waist.
  • Before you lift an item, make sure it is in front of you so you don't have to twist.  After all, twisting your back in two directions at the same time might strain your intervertebral discs, or pads of cartilage between the vertebrae.

Use the Right Equipment

Some items you simply shouldn't lift on your own.  If you will be moving very heavy items, such as a piano, you'll want to use the right equipment. Alternatively, you can find professional piano movers.  There are several types of dollies and hand trucks for different objects.

  • A hand truck has a wide blade that is perfect for slipping under heavy moving boxes or moving items over uneven terrain.
  • An appliance dolly has a heavy strap and can help you carry items that are up to 600 pounds.
  • A four-wheel piano dolly has a strong, rectangular frame with four wheels.  This kind of dolly can also be used for moving furniture.

Safety in Numbers

When moving, it's always best to have someone help you, especially if you are moving items up and down stairs.  When in doubt, you may want to call some residential movers for some professional assistance.