Ah, spring, the season to tackle those dusty baseboards and dirty windows. If you’re one of those people who takes seriously the tradition of spring cleaning, make sure you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t leave you limping in agony.
Follow these nine tips to get your house clean without throwing out your back or knees or anything else.
- Warm up. Cleaning is a workout, and like any workout, it helps to warm up and stretch beforehand. Take a quick five-minute walk and then stretch before diving into your cleaning. Start with neck stretches and make your way all the way down to your legs and ankles.
- Lift with the legs. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s important enough to repeat. Don’t bend from the waist to pick up something heavy. Instead, squat down, keeping your knees and feet at least hip distance apart. Keep your back straight and use the muscles in your legs and hips to lift.
- Lunge for it. If you’re vacuuming, sweeping, or mopping, try the lunge position instead of hunching your back. In this position, you step forward with one leg and bend it while keeping your back straight. Keep the mop or broom relatively close to your body.
- Tighten those abs. Try to think about engaging your lower abdominal muscles as you’re working so they can support your back. Imagine that you’re pulling your belly button into your spine.
- Use both hands. Just because you’re right-handed doesn’t mean you always have to lead with your right arm when washing windows, raking leaves, or mopping floors. Mix it up to avoid strains and to build muscles on both sides of your body.
- Protect your knees. If you’re cleaning something close to the floor, sit on a low stool if you can, to avoid putting pressure on your knees. If you kneel, give your knees some padding with a cushion.
- Climb carefully. Don’t rely on barstools or dining room chairs to reach that dusty ceiling fan. Use a stable stepstool or ladder. Make sure it’s placed flat on the floor and don’t stretch beyond what you can comfortably reach.
- Recruit help. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” Ask a friend or family member to join the cleaning party. Not only will it make the work go faster, your partner in grime can help with heavy lifting and holding ladders so you’re less likely to get hurt.
- Give yourself time. Don’t try to do it all in one day or one weekend. Take breaks when you’re tired, and especially take a break if something starts to hurt. Feel free to spread out your tasks over a month or even longer. After all, spring officially lasts for three months.
If chronic pain is keeping you from doing the things you want, schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With multiple locations across the state of Utah, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to. To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.