If you’re anything like me, you get so exasperated with the effort it takes to get routine tasks done when you suffer from back pain. We seem to have to choose between just doing it and dealing with the flare-up aftermath or living with the frustration of the constant “give it a lick and a promise” cleaning method. Maybe we can start over and get it right with these 7 house cleaning tips for back pain victims.
I got the idea for this post when reviewing The 7-Minute Back Pain Solution a few months ago since I was so impressed that the book has an entire chapter that focuses on managing back pain at home. I realized that housekeeping had become a real issue for me over the past few years since my last episode with two herniated discs. So I immediately started doing further research and began testing out the recommendations. These are the tips I find most helpful and are truly best practices whether you struggle with back pain or not.
7 House Cleaning Tips For Back Pain Victims
1) Create A Game Plan – First make a list of your daily chores and schedule when you will do them. These should be 5 or 10 minute tasks like doing dishes, making the bed, taking out the garbage, etc. but it’s best to break them up instead of trying to do them in a power block. Next, if at all possible, make time to do your routine cleaning in only one or two rooms daily instead of waiting to do the whole house on Saturday. I’ve found this to be the most helpful by far and conveniently live in a house that easily broke up into 7 sections so it all gets cleaned each week just on a rotating basis.
2) Break The Monotony – If you are able to do a room or two per day, you’ll be accomplishing this automatically. But if you only have time to clean one or two days a week, either do one whole room at a time or split up your tasks, at least. For example, vacuum for 10 minutes then dust for a bit then clean one of your toilets, etc. Repetitive motion puts strain on the back muscles which can lead to disaster that you likely won’t even realize until you’re done with the task and it’s too late.
3) Be Posture Perfect – Specifically for chores such as vacuuming, mopping and sweeping, keep your abdominal muscles contracted, your back straight and lunge in by placing one foot forward when in motion so that you’re not bending or twisting. Instead of bending over, squat down to clean tubs, toilets and to dust lower furniture. Use a stool to clean the top of the fridge, polish kitchen cabinets or clean bathroom mirrors. Basically, you want to rely on your arms and legs while keeping your back in its natural upright position.
4) Use The Right Tools – Obviously, you’ll want to use lightweight vacuum. Brooms and mops should have long, wide handles. Also consider a long-handled feather duster for overhead dusting tasks. I find it easier to use multi-purpose cleaners instead of lugging around a caddy of supplies from room to room. But if you prefer a caddy, make sure it’s light enough for you to handle and carry with ease. Instead of using a bucket of water that you have to bend down to reach, consider using a nearby sink for soaking or rinsing out the mop.
5) Warm-Up And Stretch – Take a short walk, for example, before beginning to get the blood flowing to your muscles. Do some basic stretches when you’re done and periodically if your cleaning for any length of time. This really makes a difference by keeping me flexible while cleaning and preventing me from “locking up” afterwards.
6) Listen To Your Body – Take breaks every so often to ensure you’re not pushing yourself too hard. If you feel any pain doing a task, stop immediately and either let it go for now or change your position or approach to the task if you can go on. Even if you just feel awkward or that a muscle is stretching too much, stop and reassess your movement before continuing.
7) Take Your Time – I know you just want to hurry up and get it done…it is cleaning, after all! But rushing through these types of tasks is exactly when we forget to protect our backs. Combine that vulnerability with a single simple twist and BAM, you’re feeling the pain in bed for next three (or more) days!
As for those less frequent but far more strenuous tasks like carpet cleaning, the windows, the garage, etc., it’s really going to depend on your issues and how you’re doing when they need to be done. Of course, one option, if you can afford it, is to hire out for these tasks (that’s what I have to do). If you are able to do a little at a time, then just work it in using these same tips. If you can do something all in one day, use these same practices and try to schedule it on a different day than you clean, at least.
I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me. Please take care and let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Talk again soon,
Image Credit: Copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo