If you’ve been packing up all your earthly belongings and you’ve started to notice twinges of pain in your back, you need to start taking it easy. But if you have the professional movers booked already and you don’t have the budget to hire more help, it may be difficult to complete the move without putting a lot of strain on your back.
Here are a few tips to help you minimize and recover from back pain while moving, whether it’s chronic or brought on by exertion and strain.
Use Better Lifting Technique
If you noticed the pain first when you were lifting something, chances are you’ve been lifting wrong. If you keep your back straight and bend only your knees, you can avoid much of the stress on your lower back that occurs when you lift with a bent back and your shoulders forward.
Of course, it’s healthiest to lift correctly from the beginning, but if you’re only experiencing mild back strain and your doctor thinks it’s okay for you to be active still, avoiding large loads and lifting correctly can help you avoid making things worse. In fact, if you lift with a flat back and well-positioned shoulders, you may be able to support the load almost completely with your legs. However, keep in mind that any time lifting something (even with correct technique) causes pain to flare up, you need to stop; the load may be too large.
Treat the Pain
If you haven’t already, be sure to get to a doctor, chiropractor, or another medical practitioner. You need to make sure your back isn’t seriously injured, and medical treatments such as a realignment and pain medications can help your back start to recover.
Your doctor may also recommend home treatments for your back pain. With mild to moderate back soreness, a heating pad can be quite useful. You can use either an electric heat pack or a microwaveable one. Topical treatments such as Arnica cream may also help, although you shouldn’t use Arnica at the same time as heat or ice.
Use Smaller Boxes and More Tools
Even if you’ve committed to doing some or even most of the moving work yourself, you can make things easier on your back by lifting and carrying only smaller loads. Even with the correct lifting technique, a large, awkward load or a very heavy one could still make your pain worse. So ask your helpers to handle the heavy things, and buy or borrow some smaller boxes so that you can still participate.
You can also reduce the amount of lifting you do by using tools such as a moving dolly. Pack a box, then slide the dolly under it and wheel it to the loading location rather than carrying it. In fact, a combination of a ramp and a dolly may help you get things into the truck without any lifting at all. This may seem like more work at first, but it may really help your back by avoiding direct lifting.
If you only have the weekend to get your move completed, it may seem important to get the bulk of it done as quickly as possible. But pay attention to your body. If you overexert yourself, your back pain could get worse so that you can’t do any work at all tomorrow. So try to be kind to your back, and don’t make things even harder for yourself.
These tips can help you to deal wisely with your back pain while still getting your move taken care of. However, the most important thing is to avoid worsening your injury, so you should always give your doctor’s instructions first priority.
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