Smart “Moves” to Avoid Back Injury when Moving

In addition to being a Realtor, I am a licensed physical therapist. I worked in outpatient-orthopedic clinics for over 17 years treating people for various injuries sustained at work, recreational activities or simply at home during everyday activities. The most commonly injured area is the lower back, with the vast majority of individuals experiencing at least one episode of lower back pain or back injury in their lives. Treatment can vary depending on many factors; however, no treatment is complete without including education on injury prevention.

Moving Tips to Prevent Back Injury

In 2020, nearly 30,000 homes were sold in the Greater Cincinnati area alone. As the spring real estate market quickly approaches, now is the time to plan for that upcoming move. Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of lower back injury (and possibly help your house show better):

  • Declutter: Homes look better to prospective buyers when they are not completely full. Before listing your home is the perfect time to take inventory of your belongings. Consider donating household items you no longer use or clothing that does not fit to charity. If the item is useless, put it in the trash or recycling if applicable.
  • Pack Smart: The natural inclination is to make sure every box is full because you do not have enough of them. This can lead to boxes that are too heavy or awkward to lift, which increases the risk of injury. Use smaller boxes for heavy items and save the large boxes for lighter, bulky items. You may have to move more boxes, but they will be more manageable and may be easier to fit in the vehicles. Buying extra boxes will be less expensive than medical bills!
  • Secure Items Well: When loading vehicles, place the heaviest items on the bottom and use straps or bungee cords to prevent shifting and damage of items. 
  • Lifting Mechanics: Moving day is here and you want to get finished as quickly as possible. Slow down! When lifting, proper mechanics can help prevent injury.
    • Test the weight of the item you are about to lift by giving a little tap to see if you need assistance.
    • When lifting from below waist level, keep your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. 
    • Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button inwards towards your spine.   
    • Bend your knees and hips but keep your back straight. Once your hands are positioned it can be helpful to lift your head and look straight ahead before lifting.
    • Ask for help when lifting heavy, large, or awkward items.
    • As our bodies fatigue it can be more difficult to maintain proper lifting mechanics.  Take breaks as needed and do not forget to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Now that you have successfully completed moving your items, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your new home. You’ve earned it!