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Part 1: How to Make the Big Move - The Execution

By Dr. Molly Casey


Everyone has to move. A change of residence is part and parcel in life. Maybe it’s moving from one apartment to the next, or from Mom and Dad’s to a college dorm, or from old home to new home. No matter what, everyone is going to move a box at some point in their life. If done incorrectly, it’s one very common way to land yourself in a lot of pain and, ultimately, an emergency visit to the chiropractor on Monday morning.

Putting some forethought into the moving process, and what it means for your body, can save you time because you’ll sustain the work for longer periods and keep you off the sidelines because of pain.

Prepare Properly

The importance of preparing properly cannot be overstated. If you prepare for something, you can withstand the process of it to a much greater degree with far greater integrity. So how do you prepare properly?

Gameplan the process - Most of the time, but not always, the process of moving is not something that is sprung on you at the last minute. The more time you have prior to the move, the better. Take time to assess what work needs to be done and prepare a plan.

Pack in stages - When you are gameplanning, the goal is to pack in stages. This will limit the stress on the body and not overload it, which should help you to make it through as healthy as possible. This is the same concept as when training for a race or another physical event. Break up the house into different segments or rooms.

Plan the process based on intensity - What’s required for packing in a specific room -- a lot of lifting of heavy objects or many small, light items? Rate the intensity and get a feel for how this will affect your body. Packing the bathroom is totally different than packing books from a den or clothes from a closet. Don’t plan to pack three rooms in a single day -- that will be high intensity on your low back and is a recipe for disaster. Know that intensity levels will be different for each person. You may not have a problem sitting on the ground for an hour while you pack certain items, but your work partner may go through the roof in pain. Know your body and don’t overload it.

Be intentional and present with the process and the movements - In my experience, I have yet to find someone who says they love the process of moving -- packing, loading, transporting to the new digs, unloading, unpacking, then setting up. Most hate it and they simply want to get it over with. This mindset -- just get it over with -- is dangerous because it comes with a lack of attention and care. So when you do execute the gameplan, start packing in stages. Be “present” or mindful of what you’re doing. Determine beforehand what you need -- boxes, tapes, bubble wrap, whatever -- and prepare the worksite. This pre-game preparation decreases the haphazard approach and promotes a more present work process. Don’t try to pack the bedroom while finishing dinner, feeding the dog, and putting on makeup before the babysitter gets there. Know you will likely get bored and need to push through a little bit near the end, but don’t let the boredom distract you; the lack of presence caused by boredom absolutely feeds into injury during the process.

You probably haven’t thought of preparing for the moving process to this extent. But lack of preparation is a primary reason folks end up in significant pain or serious injury.

The moving process takes hours upon hours. Although many people would never run a race or engage in an athletic event without training, they’ll mindlessly enlist in hours of heavy, intense physical activity for pizza and a beer with nearly no preparation or forethought. This is neither wise nor advisable. Prepare for your move well in advance and assess the demands that your body can handle.

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