Did you enjoy a relaxing weekend at home or feel overwhelmed with the "to do" list? Did you cram all your household chores into a Saturday morning so you could actually have some fun with your family?
I feel like fall has a lot of extra chores to do ... leaves to rake, more sweeping in the house from debris brought in, decorating and cleaning up from holidays. All of that bending down, lifting heavy things, and standing on ladders to get to those difficult to reach places, can put a lot of strain on the body.
Hours of cleaning, a weekend of housework, or a DIY project can definitely put pressure on your back, knees, neck, and shoulders, resulting in strains, and even injuries if you’re not careful.
It's a story we hear often at the clinic . . . "I was just doing some fall clean up around the house and I felt fine until I turned over my mattress and put my back out completely."
Most people think at first ‘oh it’s just a stiff back, I’ve probably got a bit carried away with the cleaning, it’s happened before.” But the next day, when the pain is still there or feels even worse we start to worry!
The thing is, many people will ‘put up’ with a bad back for days (even weeks!), hoping the pain will go away on its own. You really don’t have to play the waiting game and suffer for so long – especially not if it’s getting in the way of daily life, vacations, or events you have planned.
So, I'm going to give you four quick tips for everyday housework jobs to help make back injuries or pain flare-ups a thing of the past.
1. When cleaning with a vacuum, broom, or mop one of the most common mistakes people make is reaching out with their arms while bending at the waist over and over again. This awkward and repetitive position puts a lot of strain on your muscles. So, instead of leaning forward, step forward in the direction of the movement and bend slightly at the knee. Meanwhile, keeping your upper body upright to reduce any strain. The key is to keep your hips and shoulders moving together toward your work.
2. When doing laundry or picking up toys from the floor, we often lean over at the waist and again triggering back pain. Instead, do a "golfer's reach" . . . when you reach for items with your right hand balance yourself by lifting your leg up in the air. If your balance is a problem, place your opposite hand on a nearby surface.
3. Take breaks during lengthy chores. I know it can be easy to get caught up rushing around to get everything done, but be kind to yourself. Taking just a 20-minute break in the midst of your chores can save you a lot of time, pain, and frustration later.
4. Stretch Every Day. Rarely do people give much thought to their flexibility. Especially, the thought that stretching would help them when it comes to activities around the house. Yet, a lack of flexibility can be responsible for many aches, pains, and injuries - especially for those age 50+. Just 10 minutes a day of simple stretching or a weekly yoga class could make it easier to put on a pair of socks or retrieve them from the bottom of the washer.
If you’ve already done too much this weekend, and you’re feeling aches and pains, you can download our free back pain guide for actionable tips you can do as soon as today, to start easing those aches and pains. Click here to download it: