Don't Let Cleaning Be a Pain in the Back
By Sandy Schroeder
Keeping up with your family, job and home can mean everybody winds up sharing the load in household chores. Pitching in may work just fine, but ending up with a pain in the back or the neck can be avoided with a few simple precautions.
Knowing the right way to tackle tasks such as vacuuming, scrubbing, or lifting can make all of the difference, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
ACA says simple cleaning tasks can strain the back, including the sacroiliac tailbone area, leading to intense discomfort. Learn how to protect your back as you work.
ACA Tips to Save Your Back
- Lift Correctly - When you pick up a grocery bag, or lean down to pick up your toddler, always bend from the knees, not the waist. Hold the item as close to your body as possible. If you need to turn to put it somewhere, step in the direction of the turn to avoid twisting your body and straining your spine.
- Tote Carefully – When you are carrying items in and out of the house, keep the load to 10 percent of body weight, and distribute weight between both arms.
- Support Your Stand - When you work at the sink, open a cabinet under the counter, bend one knee and put your foot on the shelf underneath. Lean against the counter to support some of your weight.
- Vacuum Stance - Put all of your weight on one foot. Step forward, and back with the other foot, as you vacuum. Use your back foot to pivot when you turn.
- Phone Use – Don’t pin a phone between your ear and shoulder, locking up spinal joints in the neck and upper back. Hold the phone with your hand, or use speakerphone. Also avoid straining the neck as you bend over smartphone screens. Keep the screen at eye level.
- Lying Down – After cleaning, when you collapse on the couch, don’t use the arm as a pillow. That angle is too severe for your neck.
- Ice Packs – If your back hurts, wrap an ice pack in a wet warm towel. In case you are out of ice, you can use a pack of frozen veggies instead.
Note: If you have pain that lasts more than a day or two, or you feel tingling, weakness or numbness in your arms or legs, see your chiropractor for assistance. You can drop into The Joint any time by taking advantage of its no appointment policy.