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Spring Cleaning Without Straining Your Back
March 21, 2016
There’s just something about the warm springtime air that increases motivation levels and makes us want to rid our homes of that built up dust and switch out those winter closets for our favourite spring necessities. However, in the midst of cleaning, there is always the possibility of injuring ourselves.
When approaching a deep clean of the house and storage closets, there are plenty of opportunities to strain your back if proper procedures are not followed. Because the muscles you use don’t receive regular routine use, the chance of straining your back is increased. In order to gain that de-cluttered spring clean without hurting yourself, we have a few tips and steps for you to follow in order to reduce the risk of injury.
It is absolutely necessary to stretch before performing strenuous tasks, especially because a lot of your muscles have not received regular use. Stretching might sound trivial or unnecessary for cleaning, however it is critical. A short 10 minutes of stretching prior to cleaning can save you the possibility of a long recovery time. Stretching will warm up your muscles and get the blood pumping. Failing to stretch and begin engaging your muscles can lead to over stimulating cold muscles, which puts you at a greater risk to experience an injury or strain.
Ladders and Steps
Reaching ceiling fans, curtain rods, window frames and more are often times too high for the average person to reach with ease. In most cases, people tend to balance on their tiptoes in attempt at gaining some extra height, however reaching up high in an unbalanced form increases the chances you may strain your back. When you’re ready to clean the higher areas in the house, take a few extra minutes to properly place a ladder or stool to give yourself the extra height as needed. This not only takes the strain off your back, but also makes the tasks easier to complete.
Much like ladders and stools, extension rods are an additional tool that can be used to gain extra height. These are especially ideal for areas where a ladder may not be the best option, like cleaning the tops of your cabinets or light fixtures. Plenty of dusters come with simple, click-in extensions that bend and twist to reach difficult areas. This will save your back from a strenuous twisting fashion at an extended height.
Proper Lifting Techniques
Rule of thumb is to lift with your legs not your back. If you are moving around heavy boxes, be sure to bend your knees and avoid twisting when you lift. The best form is to turn your body towards what you are going to lift, squat down and pick up the box or object. When storing old boxes, avoid putting them on the floor as it adds additional stress to your body. If possible store them at waist level to avoid in the future the possibility of straining your back.
Whenever possible, try to do most of your activities either seated or standing upright. The more forward you bend or more toward the side you bend, the more stress you are placing on your back, including the muscles, ligaments, and even discs and joints. When you are adding more force on your back you are increasing the chance of straining it and resulting in an injury.
Spring cleaning is a rewarding process as you can enjoy the end results of a refreshed home. In following these simple tips and steps you will allow yourself to maximize your overall enjoyment of your hard work. If you are experiencing persistent back pain, it may be best to seek the assistance of physiotherapy.