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How do you stop back or shoulder pain- when cleaning?

  • 23
  • April 21, 2020

5 Tips to reduce back and shoulder pain 

Spring is a great season for your annual deep cleaning; it allows you to scour your home of accumulated dust, dirt and grease while you disinfect and declutter your house. However you have to pay attention to your posture  when cleaning in order to avoid back pain and other injuries. 

Some common chores such as: dusting, washing, mopping, vacuuming or window cleaning and so on; involve lifting, pulling, bending, holding, twisting etc. We do these all the time without paying attention to our posture, increasing the risk of back or neck pain or injury.

Good posture is the most effective way to prevent back and neck pain. It is important  that you keep good manual handling techniques when performing  any activity that requires the use of force like lifting, pushing or holding. Many patients that visit our clinic with lower back pain or neck pain come  as a result of bad posture when cleaning, making extra effort when it isn’t necessary or being in the same position, or doing repetitive movements for a long period of time.

We have put together some tips on how to reduce back and neck pain whilst cleaning your house.

Back pain tips

Decluttering 

Once you decide what to keep and what you don’t want. Make the bags or boxes not too heavy for you to carry, so you don’t strain your back. 

To lift heavy boxes your back must be straight,  bend your knees- DO NOT move your upper body.  keep your object closer to your body and distribute the weight in both feet. Keep your stomach muscles tight. Remember to keep your back straight as you bend down again.  

Doing your Laundry 

When it comes to doing your  laundry, reach for your clothes using your right hand and balance your body by lifting your left leg into the air. For additional support, you can put your left hand on a surface that’s nearby. If you end up reaching with the left hand, simply reverse directions. This will help to reduce the strain on the back muscles. 

 Also put  your laundry basket on a table or chair that is preferably the same height as the washing machine or dryer.  This will reduce the amount of times you need to bend to fill the basket.  Move slowly and remember to “lift with your legs and not your back”

Vacuuming

Stand up straight, your back must be straight too, keep the  vacuum in front of you. You should move by shifting your weight from side to side to relieve pressure from your back, neck and shoulders. Use your lower hand as a guide and keep your elbows close to your body. Don’t bend your wrists. You should kneel down if you have to vacuum or sweep under furniture.

Mopping 

When you fill the bucket, be sure it is not too heavy. Bending is bad for your back, so avoid it. Instead of placing the bucket on the floor, place it on a chair or an elevated table. 

Try to mop not wider than your body’s width. Move the mop like a pendulum. The mop should remain as close as possible in front of you, this way you don’t round your back.

Never forget to dry a wet floor to avoid slipping.

Window and high surfaces cleaning

To avoid stress in shoulders and neck; you shouldn’t work too high above your head. It is better to make short movements and never stretch too far. To reach high places use a step or stepladder, but be sure it is stable. Try to alternate both hands when cleaning.

In summary 

Cleaning a house is a lot of work! It’s possible that the soreness you  felt after cleaning comes from pulled or strained muscles that you don’t use regularly. 

Leaning over to lift boxes, mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting low areas all require you to stay in a bent or stooped position. This can be hard on your back, sometimes causing strain and injury to the area.

Make sure you avoid being in the same position for long periods of time. Try to make a stop at least every hour to stretch. Always remember that good posture will help to reduce the risk or back and neck pain and also it makes the job easy.  

For more detailed information about how our physios or osteopaths can help with back, neck or shoulder pain, feel free to contact us.  Remember you can book a video consultation  if you are suffering from back or neck pain after cleaning your. We are happy to help call us 02079932720 or book online link 

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