I have moved six times since I had my lumbar laminectomy surgery in 1990. When I was younger, slimmer and stronger, it was no problem, but I’m none of those things now. I find that packing and moving is much more difficult this time around with my bad back.
Sciatica and Mid-Back Pain
My knees have deteriorated so that I can’t stoop down to lift or pack boxes. My sciatica is so bad that I can’t even sweep or mop the floor except in short spurts. Just a few minutes of any type of lifting, bending or twisting puts me into extreme pain. Since it is nerve pain, not muscle pain, it is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicines.
Packing 10 Minutes at a Time
I can work about 10 minutes before my back goes out. I keep my heating pad on the bed set on low, and when the pain starts, I sit with my back against it for a few minutes. Patience is key, since it goes extremely slowly when you are sitting down as much as you are packing, but better to go slow than risk permanent injury. Do not push yourself, but work only until you start to feel pain, then rest.
Work at Waist Level If Possible
I try to put boxes up on something like a table or bed while I am packing them to keep from having to bend. Raising a box up to waist level makes it possible for me to work for longer periods of time without pain. Wearing a back brace and sometimes a shoulder brace when needed keeps my posture straight and pressure off of my spinal nerves.
Pack While Sitting
I worked it out to sit on my bed or in a chair to pack some boxes. For example, I was packing a box of clothes from the closet. I just tossed them into the box, then sat on the bed and rolled and packed them. Sitting takes much of the pressure off of my spine, and lets me work while I’m resting my back.
Ask for Help If You Need It
This will be my first move where I am not loading or unloading the truck at all. It’s hard for me to simply watch other people working, but I have to admit to myself that I am no longer able to do these things. Just two years ago, I was tossing boxes around for hours unloading my truck, but this time, I am hiring people to do the work.
I don’t intend to give in to this back pain. My plan is to lose weight and exercise to strengthen my back. The next time I move, I hope to be back tossing around boxes.