Moving day is an exciting one: the anticipation of a new home, the long list of to-dos, and the creativity that comes with decorating a new space: it’s a very big time!
As it turns out, though, without the help of professional packers and movers, moving day can also be a dangerous one! While moving injuries aren’t guaranteed to affect everyone who attempts a DIY move, they are quite common and can be painful and serious if you don’t take steps to dodge them.
Luckily, avoiding them is possible.
Here’s what you need to know about how to keep yourself safe as you move into your new home:
The Most Common Moving Injuries
Which moving injuries are the most common? And how can you prevent each of them on moving day? Here’s a simple breakdown:
1. Back Injuries
You’ve heard the saying “lift with your knees,” and there’s a good reason for that. When we lift heavy items with our arms and back muscles, we put ourselves at serious risk of straining muscles in the back.
Once that happens, the back muscles can spasm and tighten randomly, severely reducing your quality of life and making it much more difficult to get anything done, either now or in the future.
Common back injuries include pinched nerves, herniated disks, and strains. To avoid these issues, be sure to practice safe lifting techniques as you complete your move.
2. Muscle Injuries
Your back isn’t the only part of your body at risk of injuries. All your muscles are vulnerable to strains and pulls from moving heavy items.
Think about it: moving day requires you to execute all sorts of odd physical movements, including twists, pushing, pulling, lifting, and bending. This places muscles and connective tissues at risk and can even damage your tendons.
Common types of moving injuries to the muscles include cramps, contusions, and strains, the latter of which can range from mild to severe.
Hernias are among the most dreaded of moving injuries. A combination of muscle weakness and strain, hernias are the single most common type of moving injury. A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place.
Beyond that, inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia – making up about 70% of all hernia cases. In these injuries, the intestines move through a tear in the wall of the lower abdomen. These injuries commonly require surgery.
4. Injuries on the Hands, Fingers, and Toes
Pinches, breaks, and bruising are common when it comes to the hands, fingers, and toes. Think About it – you get exhausted as the move goes on, and it’s common to injure your digits in the process. Between pinching a finger in the door and scraping a knuckle, it’s easy to see how common these issues are.
While wearing gloves can help reduce surface injuries, injuries to digits are some of the most common in the world of moving.
How to Prevent Injuries on Moving Day
Now that you know about the most common moving injuries, let’s talk about how to avoid them. Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe and healthy as you move to your new home:
1. Take Your Time
As a general rule, rushing through your move is a bad idea. Not only does it put you at risk of forgetting things or botching your pack job, but it can create a dynamic where you take unnecessary risks and hurt yourself in the process. Instead, allow yourself ample time to complete your move. Stop when you get tired each day and be sure that you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. When you listen to and respect your body throughout your move, injuries are less likely.
2. Dress Appropriately
Dressing for the job is a simple way to keep yourself safe during the move. To avoid simple injuries, cover as much of your body as possible during the move. Here are a few guidelines:
- Wear gloves that protect your hands
- Wear closed-toe shoes with a good grip
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing to protect you from the elements
- Wear gripper socks if you have to remove your shoes in the home
- Wear long pants and shirts to avoid cuts and scrapes
3. Use Moving Tools
As moving day comes around, be sure you have enough moving tools on hand to streamline the moving process. Examples include dollies and lifting straps, both of which can help you maneuver large items and stay safe throughout the process. Here are some additional guidelines to help you use your moving tools correctly:
- Use a dolly or cart to move items (instead of lifting them) whenever possible
- Lift with your knees
- Do not contort your body as you lift
- Do not lift heavy items above your head
- Make sure you’re on solid footing before you start lifting
4. Keep Your Space Organized
Keeping the space surrounding the move as organized and clean as possible is essential for moving safety. In addition to preventing the likelihood of trips and falls, keeping your space organized is a fantastic way to streamline the move and ensure you have plenty of space to get the job done.
If you’re moving with small children, you’ll find that staying organized throughout the move can be much more difficult. For best results, designate one room or area of the move as a “play space,” where kids can play with toys and books to keep themselves occupied. This will help keep the mess contained and make it easier to maintain clear paths throughout the home.
5. Don’t Push Old Injuries
If you have an old injury that’s likely to be aggravated by moving, don’t push it beyond its comfort zone. Instead, consider hiring a moving team to help you complete the process. Not only will this speed your move up, but it will also prevent moving day injuries for you and your family!
Enjoy an Injury-Free Moving Day
As moving day draws near, follow these five tips to keep yourself safe and injury-free throughout. After all – a happy move is a safe move! Click here for our infographic.