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Moving house? How to pack and lift safely without injury

Updated: Apr 8, 2018

Moving house can be a frantic time for families. Between organising movers, utilities and everything else in between, no doubt you will have a lot on your mind. However, something that a lot of people forget is how to pack and move safely and without injury.


Lifting and moving boxes can be a dangerous endeavour if not done correctly, and can often lead to back and neck injuries. We’ve organised some of the most important tips and tricks you need to know to ensure you can carry out your big move safely and securely.


For more information on how to pack your boxes and organise your move, check out our Packing & Moving Tips and Moving House Checklist pages!



Posture


Posture is one of the most important things to consider when lifting boxes. Power comes from the hips, and this is why employing the use of your hips, glutes and core when shifting heavy items is essential.

A key reason as to why these muscles are vital for safe lifts, is that they prevent the upper back from arching. An arched upper back while lifting is an extremely common cause of lower back and spinal pain.


Using your hips, glutes and core removes much of the strain from your back and onto these large muscle groups, reducing the risk of injury in your back. Keeping these muscles active while lifting heavy boxes will greatly increase your chances of keeping your move smooth and pain free.


Process


The process of lifting your boxes is equally as important as your posture and strength.

Aim to lift through the heels of your feet, while keeping the item close to your body and feet. The further away the item is from your feet, the more likely you’ll feel the need to arch the back, which increases the chance of injury.


Ever heard the saying “lift with your legs”? Start with your hips close to the ground, while aiming for the hips to be the first body part that rises when lifting. This means you will engage the muscles in your legs as opposed to your upper back, reducing spinal strain and risk of injury.


Aim to also engage the glutes as you lift. This will make it easier to engage your hips, and acts as a mental reminder of their position in the lift. Remember to tense your core as you lift – this greatly increases the amount of power output possible, while making it easier to maintain a strong posture.


Grip


Your grip placement and strength are extremely important in ensuring your move remains safe and injury free. Generally, if the box has handles, it is a good idea to use them. If the handles seem damaged, have sharp edges or look dangerous – do not. You don’t want to hurt or cut your hands due to faulty or damaged boxes! If the box or item does not have any handles, typical hand placement would be evenly on either side of the item, as to ensure a balanced weight distribution.


After a few hours of lifting you may notice your hands getting sore. If you feel your grip strength failing, tell your partner immediately. A good solution is to have a break or to put some gloves on. Another possible solution to grip issues may be to wear gloves. If you are having ongoing issues with grip strength, the boxes you are carrying may be too heavy (see the weight limits section below). A large amount of wrist injuries come from people gripping boxes incorrectly or from people overworking themselves in terms of grip strength, so it is important to know the proper technique, and when to give yourself a rest!



Know your limits


It is important that all people participating in your move understand their ideal weight limits. In most cases, males should restrain themselves to 25kg or below boxes, and 16kg for females. If lifting above the shoulders, this weight is reduced to 10kg for males and 7kg for females.


If injuries occur


If you’ve followed all these instructions and still sustained an injury, don’t worry! Injuries can happen to even the most careful among us. Ensuring proper treatment and care will prevent the injury from escalating or becoming permanent.


The best options for recovery and rehabilitation (with recommendation from a certified medical practitioner) are:

  • Physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are experts in function and movement to prevent disease and disability through physical means.

  • Chiropractic therapy. Chiropractors treat issues with the musculoskeletal system, focusing on the neck and spine.

  • Osteopathy. Osteopathic medicine is a type of medicine that emphasizes manual readjustments, myofascial release and other manipulation of muscle tissue and bones.

If you do injure your neck or back while moving, here are some local options for treatment!


Conclusion


By following these tips to lift and move boxes properly, and seeking the proper treatment if injury does occur, you will ensure your move is as safe as possible, giving you one less thing to worry about!


Need boxes to help you move? Want to secure a storage unit for your excess belongings? Get in touch with Rhodes Self Storage today! Call us on 02 8765 1888 or Contact Us via our website.

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