Businesses like ours exist because moving a home or business is such a stressful and labour-intensive task, and the risk of injury is real. When you are young, full of energy, and heal quickly, moving generally involves packing up a couple dozen boxes, and maybe a bed or sofa worth saving. As we age and start filling our homes with furniture, however, it is important to consider what we might be willing to do ourselves versus hiring a professional like Deluxe. This month’s post will take an honest look at the risk of injury while moving, to help you weigh the pros and cons in your particular circumstances.
Your Back is Most Vulnerable
You’ve almost certainly heard someone say “lift with your legs, not your back.” This phrase was born out of the fact that back muscles are particularly prone to injury when subjected to weight pressures beyond what they are trained for. If you are like most people, back muscles are typically not well exercised, even if you hit the gym a couple of times each week. By improperly lifting heavy objects, the strain on your back muscles can quickly cause strains or even tears. These painful injuries involve what some call ‘soft tissue’ and heal very slowly and sometimes pave the way for recurring injuries.
Even worse than soft tissue tears or strains is popping one or more of your vertebrae out of alignment. Also caused by improper lifting, vertebrae can buckle under awkward pressure and slip out of line, which can cause significant pain if the shift causes pressure on a nerve or even worse pressure on your spinal cord itself.
Other Types of Lifting Injuries
Any repetitive motion can eventually wear down and damage your musculoskeletal systems, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. When your body is not conditioned over time, acute injuries such as sprains and strains can rapidly occur after only a few repetitions of weights you are not accustomed too. Musculoskeletal injuries vary greatly in severity, the most serious causing chronic and lasting damage. Common examples include tendonitis and bursitis, but there is a long list of potential lifting injuries associated with the back, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and legs. Because of the potential severity of these injuries, knowledge of prevention is absolutely critical.
Here are some key practical tips that can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Keep in mind that no matter the precautions taken, injury always remains a risk- the following list simply reduces that risk significantly:
Back Injury Prevention
Injury risk is minimized when the natural curves of the back are maintained as much as possible.
Essentially this requires attempting to maintain an upright and natural pose as much as you can.
When lifting a heavy load, keep it as close to the body as possible, and avoid as much as you can bending, twisting or turning.
Other Injury Prevention Tips
Above all else, recognize your limitations. Are you in shape and healthy? What is your reasonable lifting capacity? These should help you decide in advance the limitations you should place upon yourself. Staying safely within these limitations is key to your injury prevention plan.
While lifting, your number one rule will be to avoid placing awkward or undue strain on any vulnerable area of your body. Vulnerable areas include: back, neck, wrists, shoulders, knees and elbows. Avoid:
- A prolonged effort with your arms above your head.
- Bending your neck for too long or due to excessive weight pressure.
- Twisting, reaching, or bending any part of your body for anything other than light lifting.
- Kneeling or squatting for a prolonged period or due to weight pressure.
Thankfully, the above list is short enough to remember easily and will go a long way to keep you injury-free when you need to engage in repetitive heavy lifting.
If You Choose to Move Yourself, Warn Those Who Help You
Most of the time, a Do-It-Yourself moving job involves a group and not just one individual. Understand that anyone engaged in heavy lifting is putting themselves at risk for injury. Be sure they are aware of their own limitations, and inform them regarding the prevention tips above.
The Injury Free Move: One Reason Our Service is So Popular
There are many reasons people frequently choose professionals to assists with their move, but the risk of injury is often one of the top considerations. Deluxe Moving not only has movers who are conditioned to lift heavy objects and experienced in injury prevention, but we also use lift-assist straps and equipment where required. We’ve navigated hundreds of awkward corners carrying all manner of bulky equipment, and we’ve learned over the years how to prevent any damage to your belongings, your walls, and our own bodies. If you’ve decided the DIY route is not for you, we are eager to learn about your moving requirements and what we can do to make your move stress free and as economical as possible. If you are thinking of moving yourself, we invite you to give us a call anyway for a free, quick, no-obligation estimate. You might just decide that our competitive prices are too much to pass up on when weighed against the potential injuries associated with inexperienced moving. You’ll be glad you did!