(ARA) - Whether you're packing up and moving across town, or just need to move a large piece of furniture out of a room so you can do a home improvement project, there's one thing you can count on -- there's going to be stress involved, not only to your psyche but your body as well.
"Back pain is one of the most common ailments in America. About 80 percent of us will experience it at some point in our adult lives. Most often, it will be because we lifted something that was too heavy, or we lifted a manageable load in an improper way," says Tom Dent, a veteran appliance mover who has experienced his share of back pain over the years.
While moving stress may be inevitable, you can avoid compounding the misery with back pain. Follow these suggestions for a back-safe move:
* Pack wisely. "As much as possible, avoid packing boxes that are too heavy for you to lift without assistance," Dent says. "When you have to load a heavy box, be sure the contents are secure so that the load doesn't shift dangerously while you are lifting or transporting it."
* Clear a path. When you're up to your elbows in boxes, it's easy to find every available inch of floor space covered. But before you lift that load, make sure you've got a clear path to your destination. You won't be able to see well or move obstacles out of your way once the load is in your arms.
* When lifting a load, keep your back straight and bend your knees. Keep your head up and look straight ahead to ensure your back remains perpendicular to the ground. Hold the object securely and use the large, powerful leg muscles to lift the weight. Avoid twisting or turning at the waist when lifting. Turn your entire body by moving your hips first, which will force your shoulders to stay in line.
* Use the right tools for the job. Hand trucks should be used to transport multiple boxes at once or smaller items of furniture. They work great on level ground or even gentle inclines, but hand trucks aren't good for moving items up or down stairs. Hand trucks can also damage floors and are difficult to maneuver around tight turns.
After years of dealing with back pain, Dent set out to come up with a better way to manage the large pieces of furniture and appliances he had to deal with every day. He created the Shoulder Dolly, a patented harness system that allows users to lift with their legs and safely lift virtually any heavy or bulky item in the home, including big screen TVs, entertainment centers, dressers, mattresses, sofas, appliances, etc.
Working in two-person teams, users simply strap into the Shoulder Dolly, slip the carrying strap under the item to be lifted, and then use their leg muscles to lift the weight. The Shoulder Dolly helps users keep their spines aligned, which in turn encourages lifting with the legs, rather than with the back.
In an ergonomic evaluation performed by ErgoMed of Thornton, Colo., testers found that use of the Shoulder Dolly dropped the probability of lower back disorders from 41 to 27 percent when moving appliances up and down stairs; and from 42 to 25 percent when moving electronic equipment manually on a level surface.
The Shoulder Dolly is available at moving and home improvement stores nationwide. To find a retailer near you, log on to www.shoulderdolly.com or call (800) 217-1114.
Courtesy of ARAcontent