By Brian Acton
Consistent or recurring back pain can make even the most simple, mundane household chores a hassle. Cleaning activities that include lifting, bending or crouching can cause pain flare-ups or injury. But your trash still needs to be taken to the curb, your corners still need to be dusted and your dishes still need washing. You don’t have the choice to ignore your household chores. Instead, you must find a way to make your housework bearable. Follow these tips to make your chores manageable, reduce the risk of injury and limit your back pain.
Lift Correctly Whether you’re carrying boxes to storage or taking out the trash, lifting incorrectly can cause injury or pain. Using your back to lift heavy loads puts an unnecessary amount of strain and tension on your muscles. Instead, you should lift objects close to your body with your legs apart and a bend in your knees. Engage your leg muscles when lifting. When you’re walking with a heavy load, make sure to turn your entire body as your go instead of twisting to the side as you move around or set things down. This concept also applies to vacuuming, raking or shoveling snow. Avoid twisting your back or repeatedly bending at the waist when completing these motions. Instead, step forward with one foot with a slight bend in the knee.
Choose the Right Equipment When shopping for equipment, keep an eye out for products that will lighten the load of your household chores. For instance, you may strain your back when reaching to dust hard-to-reach areas. But a high reach duster with an extendable handle can help you easily reach those areas without having to reach too far or lug around a stepstool. Hauling around a heavy vacuum is another task that can injure your back. You might want to invest in a lightweight, handheld vacuum that you can easily carry around the house or up and down stairs. If you’re really looking to cut back on vacuuming, a Roomba could even eliminate much of your vacuuming. The point is, the equipment you use to do housework can contribute to your back pain or help you to avoid it. Choose wisely.
Take Breaks No matter what chore you’re doing - scrubbing dishes, cleaning toilets or folding laundry – staying in one position for too long can put a strain on your back. Make sure to change your position regularly, taking breaks to walk around or perform another task. You can break large tasks into smaller ones to avoid staying locked into one position or one repetitive motion over and over.
Hire Someone Some chores are going to be extremely difficult for back pain no matter how many precautions you take. If your back simply can’t take shoveling snow or scrubbing your shower, help from the neighborhood kids or a maid service might be just what you need to save your back.
In Closing You shouldn’t have to live in fear of the havoc your housework could wreak on your back. By staying conscious of your movements, wisely choosing your equipment, taking regular breaks and knowing when to rely on hired help, you can reduce the risk of back injury while keeping your house in awesome shape.