Lifting boxes the right, back-friendly way

It's almost September, and for students that could mean moving into a new dorm or residence. Others might be getting ready to move as well, and if that's the case, it's a good time to review the best way to pick up and move heavy boxes. You don't have to carry a hefty load for very long to feel the effects on your back. 

A big first step for healthy, successful moving is to size up what it is you'll be carrying. How big or heavy is the box in question? Are there easy handles on the sides for you to grab onto? If you're doing the packing yourself, you can think carefully about the containers you have to work with and repackage them if there's a better way to carry them around.

Before you pick up the box yourself, it may also help to do some stretches and warm up your muscles. You can also make a clear path in your mind from your current location to the endpoint. Where will you drop off the load, and how will you get there? Figure this out and you may find it easier to transport the object where it needs to go.

When you are finally reaching down to grab the object, everything needs to be in a smooth motion. Make sure you're facing it before you bend down, and avoid turning your body to lift. The old adage of "lift with your knees" can help, but only if the weight of the box you're picking up isn't too heavy to begin with.

After the move is over, be sure to take stock of your physical health. If you feel any persistent pain, it might be time to visit a chiropractor for a professional opinion.