couple moving in a new house and carrying carton boxes

How to Protect Your Back When Moving

One of your biggest fears when moving may be that you’ll strain or injure your back. All of the packing, lifting, and loading can be tough on your body, and especially on your back. However, most injuries are avoidable if you follow these tips to protect your back during a move.

1. Lift Properly

You’ve probably heard the advice to lift with your knees before. This truly is the number one way to protect your back when lifting and carrying boxes. You never want to bend forward and put stress on your back when picking something up. Rather, you should squat down, grab the load, and then bend your knees and hips while keeping your back straight as you stand. The motion is akin to doing squats at the gym.

Some other tips to prevent back strain when lifting include:

  • Hold the item close to your body as you lift.
  • Keep your shoulders and hips in line as you carry a heavy item.
  • Think about pushing your chest out; this helps keep your back straight.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart as you lift and walk.

If you are not used to lifting properly, doing it this way might take some getting used to. Have your helpers remind you to use good posture if they see you starting to get lazy with your lifting.

2. Use a Dolly When Possible

You don’t need to lift big, cumbersome pieces of furniture when you can simply wheel them around with a dolly. Furniture dollies only cost $40 or less, and many places also rent them. Using a dolly is simple. You and a helper ease the furniture onto the dolly, making sure that the furniture is center. Then, one person holds the load steady while the other one pushes.

3. Pack Lighter Boxes

You’re less likely to strain your back if your moving boxes are nice and light. The general recommendation is to never pack a box heavier than 50 pounds. However, if you are not overly strong or are prone to back strains, you can pack your boxes even lighter.

Buy smaller moving boxes so that you can fill them completely without them being overweight. Some people like to buy three different sizes of boxes. They can then pack the lightest items, like sheets and towels, in the largest boxes, and the heaviest items, like books and canned goods, in the smallest boxes.

4. Keep Walkways Clear

Tripping or slipping on something while you have a box or piece of furniture in your arms can cause you to lose your good posture and strain your back. So always make sure the path is clear before you start walking towards the door.

Pick up area rugs and cords before you even start moving. If any loose pieces of flooring are in your home, secure them with tape while you move. Also, make sure you wear supportive shoes with plenty of traction so you’re less likely to slip on a wet leaf or similar obstruction outside.

5. Take Breaks

When you get tired, you’ll be less conscious of your posture and more likely to make mistakes that lead to back strain. So as badly as you want to just finish moving and get on the road, you need to take breaks. Stop for five minutes to regroup after every hour of moving, or take a brief break after each room. You’ll emerge from your break feeling refreshed and better able to move safely.

A back injury would certainly put a damper on your moving experience, so follow the tips above — and make sure anyone who helps you move does the same. If you have a history of back pain and don’t want to risk re-injury, consider relying on professional movers instead. Contact Bell Moving & Storage to learn about our moving solutions throughout the Ohio Valley and beyond.

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