Wednesday, September 2, 2015



In addition to the previous blog post called, CHRONIC PAIN AND MOVING - THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ASPECTS , I want to provide a few safety precautions and suggestions to be aware of when preparing to move that may be useful for those of us living with chronic pain. It may not be what you want to do, but what would require you to do to keep yourself safe and hopefully free of hurting yourself more than you already hurt!  We all want to perform at our highest level possible to do all we can, especially when there is a lot to do! But, as hard as it is to face, we just cannot physically "push through" and fight our bodies. That is a difficult fact to face for many of us dealing with chronic pain. A fact that many of us try to ignore and "push through" and suffer severely for it.  However, being aware of our limitations is part of our new "normal" that we have to learn.

NOTICE: This is not an all encompassing list, but it can be used in addition to all those out there on the internet from places like U-Haul and 2Men and a Truck, as well as many others that give tips on how to move.
Remember that you know what your body can and cannot do! You know what your doctor has told you is safe for you to perform. Please listen to your body and your doctor!  Be safe!

  • ASK FOR MORE TIME – If you have a home to sell you can ask to add a couple weeks or more to when you are required to move out.  That way you can have extra time to pack/unpack, get your other place situated as needed, as well as not be is such a hurry to move.  Hurrying isn't realistic! It can cause increased pain and put you flat on your back in bed. 

  • SET A SCHEDULE - Make a schedule that your body can tolerate. Cut back if that schedule is too much and causing you to have a flare. It won’t do you any good to “push through it!”  In n all probability, you are very aware of that! It is going to take longer than you think! Things usually do it seems! Please don't bother berating yourself about it! It is hard to deal with chronic pain and huge tasks. That just wastes energy! 

  • BREAK THINGS DOWN INTO SMALLER TASKS - In addition to setting a simpler schedule, break things down to make them more doable. For instance, instead of focusing on one room at a time, focus on one area of a room! For example, our office has two closets, a huge desk with a hutch, three file drawers and a tall book shelf. Each area containing stuff to go through. At first I thought I could go through it in a day.  LOL!  In another life!  That definitely is not a part of my new "normal!"  Not only did I have to do one section at a time, but I had to do each section for small time spans. And as it turned out, I had to even take a few days off.  It was too much to do!
For many of us it seems there is no way to avoid hurting ourselves more. Simplifying activities to make it doable in our new "normal” of living with chronic pain just doesn’t always work. One thing for sure, with nerve damage, spine issues and other neuromuscular issues that I deal with, I can’t fight it or "push through it!!"  They will fight back! With a vengeance! Many of us suffer from different diagnoses that cause chronic pain. Sadly, for many it is really a lose-lose situation from the start!  Do the best you can to make good choices when performing so many tasks! Be kind to yourself!
  • PROTECT YOURSELF and RESPECT YOUR LIMITS - Make sure you keep to the precautions your doctor or therapist has given you regarding repetitive movements, lifting, twisting, bending and reaching! Be respectful of what your body can and cannot do. Incorporate proper body mechanics,, with your activities! Know your limits and respect them. Studies prove using proper body mechanics have a positive outcome on repetitive lifting for ones low back.( )  As said before, ending up in bed having a huge flare will not do you any good! If you suffer from spine issues, is it worth possibly having another surgery on top of other surgeries that probably haven’t worked out so great in the first place? It takes just a second to “just lift one little box!” to hurt yourself. Be careful!

  • ASK FOR HELP! - I know that is very difficult and feels demeaning for many of us! We can either learn the hard way by hurting ourselves or be wise about it and ask for help! I bet you’ve blessed many people by helping them in your life. Let someone have the pleasure of helping you out and being blessed by doing so! It makes them feel good!
Who to call? Family, friends, a church group, hire helpers (make sure bonded and insured), older neighborhood kids you trust, college students from a local college, or  professional helpers, if you can afford it.

I know there are some things we just have to do ourselves. Like sorting through our belongings!  Deciding what gets trashed, given away and boxed up to move. But, be good to yourself!

  • PREPARE WHAT YOU ARE ABLE AHEAD OF TIME - Clean out stuff before you move if you have the time. If not, move it with you and then sort through it later when able. It all depends on your time schedule. If you know you are going to have to move in a month or more, start going through areas a bit at a time. For example, a few drawers a day, a closet a week or 15 minutes here and there, a few times a day. It all adds up. Take your time!

  • USE ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT - repetitive bending is very painful for many. It can be made much easier if you use a reacher. They can be found in many pharmacies for about $12. Get one with a magnetic end. It comes in handing with sorting things like clothes, picking up stuff off the floor, etc. I don’t recommend them to grab stuff over head.

A cart on wheels - is very helpful to move things from one room to another. There are many different types of carts available. Your back, neck and arms will be freed of lifting and moving many items! Find one that will work for you!

  • BOXES –Smaller to medium size boxes are good to use so they aren’t too heavy once they are full. You can get them free at some stores after they stock their shelves, or buy them at stores that have moving supplies or moving companies such as U-Haul sell them. Call ahead to be sure they have them so you don’t make a wasted trip. Have the boxes nearby when going through drawers, closets and cabinets. Mark them with, “keep”, “give away” and “throw away”. (We called and got a larger trash cart and recycle cart from our city which has been very helpful to get rid of stuff). Make sure you don’t over pack them. It makes them harder to move. Keep them close to the location to what you are packing/unpacking so it saves you having to walk across the room.  Make sure to lift using good body-mechanics to prevent injury!
  • CHOOSING NOT TO HAVE A MOVING SALE - Sell? Really? It is overwhelming enough to go through everything that you need to at this time. Box up items to sell at a later date if you want to have a moving sale. Or for simplicity and saving yourself loads of time, energy, as well as potential increase in pain, just give to a local mission. Some actually will come and pick up your stuff if you call them. Many people need your unused items! Plus, do you really have the physical strength to go through all the work it takes to have a sale? Think about it before you torture yourself!
  • STORING ITEMS SAFELY  – use plastic totes with lids for items to keep as safe as possible from bugs, moisture, etc.
Under bed storage containers - for off season clothes, shoes, etc.  is a good item if you do not have enough closet space. Shop around. I have seen some place as high as $5 more for the same item
  • DRAWERS - No need to pack clothes, etc. in drawers - Clothes can be moved in drawers. You can wrap in plastic to protect them.  (Large rolls of plastic wrap can be bought at moving supply aisle at stores, which also had boxes, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, tape, etc.)
  • CLOTHES ON HANGERS - Turn plastic garbage bags upside down and pull down over as many clothes hung on hangers that will fit. Make a hole in bottom of bag for hangers and tie or tape the bottom shut to protect.  
  • LABEL BOXES – that go with you with what room they go to for movers. (As well as list contents on the side so if you need something you know where at).
This is just a partial list as I said before. I am sure many of you have more tips you can share with the rest of us! Just leave your comments in the comment area below if you wish! May God bless all of your dealing with having to move! May you stay safe and have a lot of help with all these tasks! And may you pass on encouragement to others dealing with this as well! That's a very important aspect of our new “normal!"


  1. I wish I had seen your blog before we packed and moved in Feb! You just wrote my life from those months. Even tho my family and friends know what I have been through with my surgeries, they STILL made negative comments to my spouse AND me about my NOT HELPING! I was so hurt. Not just by their comments, but also by my spouses lack of defending me! I am so tired of pretending I am not in pain so that I don't cause a "scene"!

    1. It's bad enough that you are in pain and hearing these comments from your friends and family but to feel the additional hurt that your spouse didn't speak up for you is so sad. Did you ask him why he didn't? I know what you mean by pretending not to be in pain but I do it so my spouse doesn't worry so much. So sorry Pisto that you have to experience that.


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