I’ll start with a disclaimer, this blog post is mostly a helpful reminder for myself. In the next couple of weeks I will be switching apartments which requires the dreaded packing and moving. However I also know of a couple of friends/family who are moving and its almost time for students to head off to college (how is summer already half gone!). Below are some helpful hints to avoid hurting yourself and making a move as pain-free as possible.
1.Lift by doing a safe squat: What does that actually look like. It does not mean keeping back upright and bending your knees forward. Instead squat like your taking a seat, sitting your butt down and back, letting your chest come forward, keeping your weight primarily in your heels.
2. Have a wide base of support: The wider your feet the stronger and more balanced you will be while lifting a heavy or awkwardly shaped object.
3. Brace your core: Many professional movers you see wear external braces to protect their back. However, everyone has their own built in stability brace, and that is the core/abdominals. To get more information about strengthening/tightening your core take a look at my previous blog post.
4. Check the weight of the box: Have you ever lifted a box which you thought was heavy but was actually light? AWhat likely happened is that the item almost flew out of your hands. What occurred is that your brain unconsciously recruited the muscles it thought it needed to do the task, which in this case was more than what was required. Vice Versa if your brain thinks the box is light it won’t recruit as many muscles and that can result in “pulling” your back. The solution. Nudge the box to see how heavy it is before lifting.
5. Keep your path clear: The last thing you want to do is to trip while carrying a heavy box.
6. Ask for help: This calls for self awareness. Ask for help if you need it and DON’T push through pain.
7. Take rests as needed.
As always, if you do have pain, lose your balance, or fall, contact your family physician or a trusted physical therapist.