Common moving injuries: types and prevention techniques

The home moving process is often an unpredictable period where common sense and safety measures are your best allies to keep bad things from happening to you, your family members or anyone else involved in the relocation process.

Due to the large number of tasks to be completed prior to Moving day, you may often feel like you’ve fallen behind schedule, and thus you may try to compensate for the lost time by sprinting through your moving calendar.

The unpleasant feeling of being rushed through your house move is likely to lead to even more stress and frustration, but it’s your struggle to speed things up that may lead to improper safety precautions, which in turn could result in unnecessary moving-related injuries. Ouch!

Don’t risk your health – moving injuries are more common than you think. Instead, educate yourself on the common moving injuries involved in a residential move, and more importantly –how to avoid injuries while moving home.

Back injuries

In your everyday activities, you tend to lift light and not-so-heavy things by straining only the muscles of your arms. What you may not realize though is that when lifting heavy objects, a great amount of stress is placed on the back as well. And when that weight happens to be more than the muscles of your back can handle safely, then the chance of a back injury increases drastically.

Types of back injuries

The most common back injuries are pinched nerves, strains, and herniated disks. Other much more serious spinal injuries (like fractured vertebrae) are also possible. All of these types of back injuries will cause a great deal of pain, will limit your movements and will require corresponding treatment – medicines, icing, rest, physical therapy, or even surgery.

How to avoid back injuries?

Prevention is the best medicine.

  • First and foremost, use your common sense. Know your own limits when it comes to lifting and carrying heavy things. Sorry, you’re not Superman.
  • Use proper lifting techniques! Yes, you’ve heard this many times, and you’re about to hear it again: Lift heavy items with your legs, not your back. Keep your back as straight as possible and use the strength of your lower limbs as a hoisting device.
  • Make sure you use the right moving tools, like a furniture dolly and furniture sliders.
  • Ask loyal friends to help you lift and move really heavy items such as furniture pieces, household appliances, and the such.
  • Be smart and hire professional movers for an injury-free move.

See also: How to move heavy furniture by yourself

Muscle injuries

The thing is that your moving day will be filled with all sorts of unusual movements that your body will not be accustomed to – bending, pushing, pulling, lifting, twisting, and so on. Such extraordinary strenuous activities will take their toll on your body, and the latter will become more prone to moving injuries, especially your muscles.

Types of muscle injuries

Your muscles and connective tissue will be at great risk if you try to manage your house without professional assistance. When you strain your muscles under normal everyday activities – that is, when you lift medium heavy things that fall into your comfort zone, microscopic tears occur in your muscles and tendons. And that’s fine – the newly-formed muscle tissues only make your muscles denser and stronger.

But strain your muscles beyond their limits, and you may get:

  • Muscle strains. Graded 1 (mild), 2 (moderate), and 3 (severe), strained muscles are contraction-induced injuries where muscle fibers get torn due to an overdose of mechanical stress.
  • Muscle contusion. Bruised muscle tissue results when capillaries are damaged due to trauma.
  • Muscle cramp. The strenuous physical activity of your moving day can lead to muscle cramps that can be extremely painful. Calves, thighs and foot arches are the muscle groups that cramp the most.

How to avoid muscle injuries

Prevention is better than cure.

  • Cold muscles are very prone to injuries. Do some dynamic stretching and warming exercises to warm up your body muscles and get them ready for the physically demanding Moving day. This way, blood will flow to all active areas and will keep the muscle groups warm and elastic.
  • Stay hydrated and take frequent rest breaks.
  • Whenever necessary, use proper moving equipment to your aid.
  • Don’t try to be a hero and do all the strenuous work by yourself. Ask friends to give you a hand.
  • Hiring professional movers will most likely be cheaper than paying up your moving-day-injury medical bills.

Related: How does moving day work?

Inguinal hernia

In general, hernias are the result of a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Non-surprisingly, lifting heavy objects is one of the major causes and risk factors of hernias.

What is an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias happen to be the most common type of hernia – about 70% of all cases. An inguinal hernia occurs when the intestines push through a weakened spot or a tiny tear in your lower abdominal wall. Depending on the severity of such ruptures or tears in the abdominal cavity, surgery may be required to fix this condition.

How to avoid hernias?

Prevention is the best cure.

  • A good way to prevent hernias is to avoid lifting and carrying super heavy items on Moving day. Do NOT try to lift household items that are way out of your comfort zone.
  • As a precaution, you can choose to wear a belt (just like weightlifters do) that will provide additional support and will lessen the pressure on the bottom part of your abdominal cavity.
  • Use appropriate moving equipment, for example, a furniture dolly.
  • Get good friends to help you with the heavy lifting.
  • Do the sensible thing and hire moving professionals to do what they do best.

Injuries to hands, fingers, and toes

Some move-related injuries come as a direct result of fatigue and exhaustion. You will become more and more tired as the move progresses, and then you’ll be more likely to lose your balance, take that wrong step on the stairs, lose the grip on a heavy item, bump into a wall on your way out, and so much more.

Types of injuries to digits

One of the most common moving and handling injuries are the ones to the hands, fingers, and toes. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are really a common occurrence during the moving process, but broken fingers, broken toes, or sprained ankles are also something that you could happen to you if you happen to turn your back on safety. Your elbows and shoulders can also get injured during the most unpredictable day of the entire move.

How to avoid injuries while moving home

  • Wear the correct footwear to prevent injuries to your feet. Your best bet is to have a pair of closed sports shoes that have soles with good traction against accidental slip-ups or trips.
  • Wear clothes appropriate for the occasion. Avoid any baggy clothes or accessories that may be caught up in something and cause trouble.
  • Wear thick protective gloves to keep your fingers safe and to improve greatly your grip.
  • Clear obstacles and hurdles out of your home exit routes.
  • Don’t rush things and always coordinate each and every step with your helpers.
  • And above all, if you feel like a task is too much for you, don’t hesitate to ask for professional assistance. Remember that a serious moving injury can stay with you for a lifetime.

Learn more: How to prevent injuries and accidents when moving home

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