Back injury from carrying a heavy moving box
Date Published
February 03, 2020

Nobody ever said moving was easy. Unfortunately, it can also be more dangerous than you might think. With the constant bending and lifting, not to mention accidental falls, scrapes, and bumps, moving day can really take a toll on your body. This is especially true if you’re opting not to seek the assistance of experienced moving professionals.

Moving should be an exciting start to the next chapter of your life, not the beginning of chronic pain. A lot of people get so caught up in protecting their precious belongings that they forget to properly protect themselves.

In order to help you avoid unnecessary pain, we’ve put together some helpful tips so you can further minimize your risk of injury before, during, and after your next big move.

Before the move

  • Resist the urge to overpack: Just because you can cram 100 pounds of books into a large box, doesn’t make it a good idea. While you don’t need to actually weigh them, do try to keep each box under 50 pounds so an average able-bodied individual can easily carry it. Keep your heavy, dense items for the small boxes, and only fill larger boxes with light, bulky items such as blankets, pillows, and clothing. Your back will thank you.
  • Carefully wrap sharp objects: You don’t need us to tell you that knives, scissors, and other sharp objects can lead to injuries if handled improperly. Go slow when wrapping them, and if you can, add an extra layer just to be safe.
  • Relocate pets and young children: The last thing someone carrying a heavy box wants to worry about is tripping over an unpredictable pet or child. If you can’t get a friend or relative to watch them for a few hours, then set up a designated “safe room” in the house that’s well out of the way of the commotion.
  • Get a good night’s rest: Someone who’s overtired is far more likely to make a mistake and suffer an injury. We know you have a million things to pack and get ready, but you’re far better off getting up a little early than you are staying up extra late.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: One of the biggest mistakes you can make on moving day is not dressing the part. Avoid slippers, sandals, and heels at all costs, and stick with sneakers or boots with plenty of comfort and traction. As for the rest of your clothing, keep it breathable and comfy—nothing too tight or baggy that will slow you down or restrict your movement.
  • Don’t forget to stretch: Before you lift your first box or piece of furniture, take a few minutes to thoroughly stretch. Tight muscles leave you far more susceptible to common moving-day injuries, such as pulled muscles and spasms.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy: No matter how much care you take to avoid them, accidents can happen to anyone. If it does, you’ll thank yourself for having a first aid kit nearby. Make sure it’s stocked with all the essentials, such as bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, alcohol swabs, scissors, and latex gloves.

During the move

  • Go slow and don’t overdo it: We know there’s a temptation to go fast in order to get done as quickly as possible. However, moving furniture and boxes too fast increases the chance of damage to both you and your things. There’s no reason to show off either—it’s better to take an extra trip than an extra box that you can’t safely handle.
  • Lift the correct way: This is a big one! The best way to avoid back strain is by following proper lifting protocols. Lift with your legs. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Don’t overextend your arms and keep the items close to your body. If you can, pack your boxes on top of tables or countertops to avoid having to bend over as often.

Correct lifting technique

  • Take advantage of moving equipment: There’s a good reason that professionals use specialized equipment—it makes the entire process that much easier. Even if you don’t own them, you can often rent hand trucks and flat dollies for your move. We also highly recommend stair rollers, furniture glides, and forearm straps for many situations.
  • Avoid overhead lifting: There really shouldn’t be any reason to lift a heavy object over your head. You’ll naturally want to maximize the space in the moving truck, but try to keep large, heavy objects closer to the ground and save the lighter boxes and items for up high. This also decreases the chances of mid-transit shifting and damage, which is always a good thing.
  • Keep a clear pathway: It’s pretty easy for things to get messy and disorganized during a move, but trust us, you want to make sure there is always a clear, direct path. You’ll thank yourself when you’re lifting oversized boxes and furniture and can’t see where you’re stepping!
  • Listen to your body: Moving is intense, exhausting work. If you’re feeling winded or lightheaded, sit down for a minute or two and rest. Drink plenty of water and grab a light snack to keep your energy up. We can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself. No move is worth a serious injury!

After the move

  • Don’t overreach: When unpacking, make sure to use a ladder or step stool when putting items away on high shelves or other out of reach places. Just be careful—the top rung is never meant to be stood on!
  • Avoid rearranging alone: It’s a great feeling to finally be in your new home, and you may want to hurry up and get everything where it needs to be. If you’re rearranging large furniture though, wait until there’s someone there to help you. Your body (and floors) will thank you.
  • Relax: You’ve done it! The move is over and everything you own is now in your new home. We know it’s exciting but take some time to let it sink in before rushing to unpack everything. You’ve certainly earned a little rest and relaxation, after all.

What’s the best way to avoid moving-related injuries?

Let the professionals handle it! It seems obvious, but letting experienced movers do everything for you is the safest option there is.

When it comes to experienced movers in Minnesota, nobody is more trusted and knowledgeable than AAA Movers. Contact us today for a free quote and discover what a safer, more stress-free move can be.