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June 16, 2017

Avoid lower back pain on moving day

Moving season is upon us once again, and the July 1st tradition of transporting a lot of boxes can put all of us at greater risk for back injury. Your back is precious and one false move can have lasting repercussions. With this series of exercises—in which you’ll master proper lifting techniques—you’ll be able to ward off aches and pains and strengthen your lower back while prepping your muscles for the grueling move! 

Bursitis and tendonitis at a glance

Bursitis and tendonitis are two conditions that involve inflammation; the former of the bursa (a sac surrounding joints that is filled with fluid), and the latter of the tendon. Though bursitis is often more painful than tendonitis, both conditions are unpleasant and can limit movement. 

Causes of bursitis and tendonitis include: 

  •     Excessive pressure on the joint (via sports, work, moving, etc.) 
  •     Repeated physical activity (e.g. frequent lifting)
  •     Injury
  •     Sudden, sharp and infrequent movements (e.g. lifting something heavy like a fridge)
  •     A false or awkward move
  •     Poor posture

Prevention through exercise

Moving puts a lot of strain on the body, and joint and muscle fatigue can trigger bursitis and tendonitis. This is why preparing for your move by exercising in advance is so important—it allows your joints to progressively get used to heavy loads. This will strengthen your bones, muscles and tendons, resulting in stronger, more stable joints.

Proper lifting technique

Step 1: Stand close to the object you are lifting, with your feet shoulder-width apart so as to keep a wide base of support.  

Step 2: Squat down, bending at the knees. While keeping a firm grip on the object, tighten your stomach muscles and keep your back straight as you lift the object up.

Pre-move strength-training workout 

Duration: About 10 minutes

Repetitions: 10 to 15 for each exercise. Repeat the whole workout 3 times.

Exercise 1: Sumo squat 

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and squat down. 

Muscles used: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and adductor muscles of the hip.

Exercise 2: Feet/elbow plank 

Hold your stomach in, and keep your lower back straight; you should not feel any lower back pain during the plank. Hold the pose for 20–40 seconds, and repeat 2–3 times. 

Muscles used: transverse abdominal, rectus abdominal, oblique, lower back, and back.

Exercise 2: Wall slide

Standing with your back against the wall and your elbows bent at 90 degrees, slide your arms vertically overhead. 

Muscles used: trapezius, rhomboids, and levator scapulae.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take breaks when you feel tired. Now that you have the right safety tips, you’re all set for moving day!