Rosemont, IL – Whether moving to a new home or packing up for the semester, the physical intensity of moving can be extreme. Packing boxes, moving heavy furniture, emptying overhead cabinets — all come with some risk for injury, especially to your back. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for Americans visit their doctors. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 21.9 million people visited their physician for back pain in 2007 and 4.8 million went to the emergency room for such back ailments. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that you lift and carry items with proper form and posture to help avoid injury.
“Most of us have heard ‘lift with your legs not your back,’ but sometimes people don’t know what that means,” said orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson, Arya Nick Shamie, MD. “When lifting, keep your chest facing the object at all times, use your thigh muscles to boost you up and forward. Keep the object close to your body; the farther away the object, the more weight it exerts on your spine. If you struggle to get the item off the ground to a standing position, it’s very important to ask for assistance at that very moment instead of overdoing it on your own.”
To avoid heavy-lifting injuries and other pain from moving, the AAOS recommends keeping the following tips in mind:
- It is important to separate your feet, shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles.
- Try and get help. Ask a friend to help or leave the job to the professionals who are trained to lift properly.
- Do not move a very large or awkwardly shaped item yourself, even if you think it is light enough. You could limit your visual scope or strain your neck or back trying to balance it.
- Use several smaller boxes for heavier items and don’t stack boxes above shoulder level when carrying.
- When moving boxes or any object, remove all obstacles – especially smaller throw rugs — from the walkways and stairways and keep the floor and stairs dry to avoid slipping.
More tips on Moving safety
For more information, contact: