Everyone wants a clean, neat, and organized house this spring. To take care of all your spring cleaning chores without having back pain, follow the simple tips presented in this post.
Cleaning can stress and strain the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the back. Cleaning improperly or spending too much time cleaning can oftentimes lead to back pain. In some cases, back pain goes away on its own or is easily treated using rest and anti-inflammatory medications. In others, pain may persist and require treatment by an orthopedic specialist. While more treatment options than ever are available, the best way to avoid back pain is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
General Rules of Thumb When Cleaning
Before discussing specific cleaning chores, it’s important to go over some general rules of thumb that you can quickly and easily implement into your cleaning routine. These rules of thumb include the following:
- Break it up. Trying to do all your chores at once can oftentimes be more than your back can handle. Spreading your chores out over the course of a few days is much better for your back. If it helps, you can create a cleaning calendar that evenly distributes your chores and matches your daily/weekly work schedule and routine.
- Take breaks. Taking frequent short breaks (even when you’re not in pain) gives your back and other musculoskeletal structures time to rest and regain their strength. Often times, stopping for just a few minutes over the course of cleaning session can be the difference in experiencing pain or feeling great after your session.
- Stop if it hurts. Try not to push yourself. If your back hurts while you’re doing a specific chore, stop that chore and take a break. Asking a family member or friend to help with a chore that is painful for you to do is always a good idea.
- Purchase good appliances. When possible, buy appliances that help reduce your workload. Such appliances include electronic vacuums, heavy duty mops and brooms, heavy duty brushes, long handle dusters, and more. If you’re looking for something specific, sales representatives at your local cleaning supply store can be a great resource.
- Purchase good cleaning products. Good cleaning products will help you do more work in a shorter period of time. Top quality cleaning products are easily available and fairly priced.
It’s recommended that you experiment with your routine to find out what works best for you. Additionally, it’s important that you take a few precautionary measures when performing specific chores.
When vacuuming, mopping, raking, or shoveling - Stand up tall and try not to lean over. Keep the appliance or object as close to you as possible. These measures will help keep your spine straight and will take pressure off your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
When doing dishes and laundry - Leaning over and reaching deep down into the sink or laundry machine can overstretch your back muscles. Avoiding this is a two-step process: (1) place your dishes/clothes in a large tub or container next to your sink/laundry machine (2) Transfer dishes/clothes one at a time into the sink/laundry machine.
When straightening up - Always lift objects by bending at the knees and not the waist. If an object is too heavy for you to lift, ask a family member or friend for help.
If Back Pain Presents
If back pain presents while or after a cleaning session, you should stop what you’re doing and rest. Over-the-counter pain and/or anti-inflammatory medications can be used to help you. Pain that does not go away on its own or increases in severity should be seen by an orthopedic specialist.
Follow the rules of thumb and precautionary measures outlined in this post to help you stay pain-free while cleaning this spring. Take the time to experiment with your cleaning routine to see what works best for you. If you do this, you can rest easy and relax in your clean home.