Surviving back-to-school moving mania – nine ways to avoid injuries


For many, August signals back to school. And back to school for our family consists of moving our daughter back to college. She has an apartment this year, which means moving a lot more stuff like heavy furniture and sweating in 100+ degree temperatures in Arizona.

For other families, August might mean getting settled into a new home before kids start classes in a new school.

No matter what the situation, moving often brings aches, pains, strains and sprains. These types of injuries can seriously slow you down and cause delays or hardships during a potentially busy or stressful time.

Orthopedic Surgeon Brett Haywood, MD, with the Banner Health Clinic specializing in sports medicine in Casa Grande, has several suggestions on how you can remain injury free during your move.

  1. Allow sufficient time to pack and move. Slowing down and having things organized is one of the best ways to prevent moving injuries.
  2. Make sure your load is packed correctly. The weight needs to be balanced so it won’t move around.
  3. Test the load before you lift. Push the object lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it moves. This tells you how heavy it is.
  4. Make sure the load is easy to grip. Be sure you have a tight grip on the object before you lift it. Can you apply handles to the object to help lift it more easily?
  5. Stretch. The back is the muscle that is most often pulled when moving. Before moving, take some time to stretch your back muscles to loosen them. Not only will stretching protect your back while you move, it will also help you to be less sore after the move.
  6. Get help. Many injuries occur when people try to do too much by themselves. This includes lifting items that are too heavy, big and bulky for one person to move on his or her own. Enlist the help of friends, professional movers or moving equipment like dollies or hand carts.
  7. Use proper lifting techniques.
    1. Lift with your legs while you straddle the load. Never bend over and pick up a box with your back. To lift with your legs, bend your knees, not your back, to pick up the load. Keep your back straight.
    2. Use slow and smooth movements. Hurried, jerky movements can strain the muscles in your back.
    3. Keep your body facing the object while you lift. Twisting while lifting can hurt your back.
    4. Keep the load as close to your body as possible. Having to reach out to lift and carry an object may cause injuries.
  8. Take a break. Allow some time to rest throughout the day. These breaks are also a good time to eat a small snack to replenish your strength and to keep yourself hydrated.
  9. Watch out for uneven terrain. Take notice of steps, cracks or uneven flooring that could be potential hazards when moving. Stepping wrong can cause you to twist an ankle or even stumble and fall.
And lastly, prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand for any pinched fingers or stubbed toes.
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