It's that time of year again! Time to dust off the book selves, get rid of old hats and coats, reorganize the garage, deep-clean the house. Spring Cleaning the great season of making everything fresh and new. But those weekend warriors out there beware, improper form while cleaning out the shed and tidying up the house can lead to serious back pain.
If not conscious of how we are moving, sometimes our posture and body mechanics can have ill effects on the body. While we're spring cleaning, back pain can arise from being stooped over vacuuming, mopping, raking leaves, or pushing the lawn mower; constantly bending over from the waist while doing laundry, picking up toys from the floor, gardening, or twisting down into hard-to-reach areas to dust or clean can also lead to a sore back and painful next week. Keeping good form and strengthening our legs, back and core muscles can help prevent back pain.
1. Use a Lunge Position
Lunge forward instead of leaning from the waist while vacuuming, mopping and raking. It is important to keep the back straight while performing these taxing activities to avoid pain and to create more strength in the core and back. You can do this by using the legs to bear some body weight. Stepping forward with one leg and bending that leg, in a lunging action will help to keep the back from hunching forward.
2. Lift With the Legs Instead of the Back
When picking toys off the floor, a pile of leaves off the ground, or the laundry out of the basket, bend your legs into a squat instead of bending over at the waist as much. This will help strengthen the lower body and take the strain out of the lower back.
3. Engage your Core Muscles
Any time you reach, bend, or twist, make sure you engage the core muscles by pulling your belly button into the spine. This will help protect the back from harm.
4. Don't Lock the Knees While Standing
If you're in a stationary position dusting or reaching up for something,, be sure to keep a soft bend in the knees. Locking out the knees is often accompanied by arching the back and uneven weight distribution.
5. Protect the Knees when Kneeling to Clean Down Low, or Avoid Kneeling Altogether
If you can avoid kneeling while you clean in low places by sitting on a stool nearby, then that will help preserve your low back and knees.
6. Stretch Gently Before and After Spring Cleaning
Housework and yardwork can be just as taxing on the body as an exercise routine. Just like stretching before and after exercising to prevent injury, gentle stretching should be done before and after housework.
7. Know When Enough is Enough
Don't be afraid to either ask for help, or leave a task for another day. Knowing your limits is an important part of avoiding injury. If you begin to feel exhausted and fatigued, that is the sign to stop the physical work.
If you already suffer form back pain, these tips are going to be very important for you to follow to manage the pain and keep it from worsening. If you have early symptoms of back pain, you might want to incorporate these pointers into your daily life.