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Heavy Lifting & How To Reduce Pain

Our Chartered Physiotherapists offer some helpful tips to reduce the occurrence of back and neck pain when heavy lifting…

Moving house is one of life’s more stressful events so the last thing you need is an episode of back pain or neck pain to set you back. If you are planning on making a move these 10 tips can help keep you feeling tip top so that you can enjoy your new home!

1. Plan the move to eliminate unnecessary carrying. Use trolleys and other equipment where possible –slide, push or roll as much as possible. When there is a choice push instead of pull.

2. Warm up & cool down to lifting and carrying tasks – Start and finish with lighter items. Leave your heavier items to the middle of your move. Active movements such as bodyweight squats and lunges can prime your nervous system to get you ready for heavier loads.

3. Reduce distances items need to be carried over- The further you have to carry an object the greater the stress on your musculoskeletal system. Think about how much just 5 extra meters will add up over the course of 20 or 30 boxes!

4. Before carrying always test load stability and weight. “Tag” awkward or unstable loads- Make sure you distribute items evenly when packing.

5. If possible use smaller and/or lighter weight containers. Dividing a large load between two smaller containers will reduce the effort.   When carrying containers with one hand, alternate hands.  Alternate carrying with non-carrying tasks.

6. If you wear gloves choose the size that fits properly. Be careful as gloves can decrease your grip strength by up to 60 per cent – Make sure you choose ones with good grip.

7. Make sure you have a clear view of the path. Avoid carrying large or bulky loads that limit or obstruct your vision. Walk the carry path once without any load keeping an eye out for potential hazards such as slippery floors or obstacles.

8. Carry only as much as you can safely handle by yourself keeping the load close to your body. Whenever appropriate, use two hands to carry containers and take rest breaks as needed and keep hydrated.

9. If possible redesign the container so it has handles, grips, or handholds- this can be as simple as cutting two hand holes in larger boxes as you back them.

10. If you must manually carry materials on your shoulder, reduce the weight of the load and use a pad to provide cushioning.