When the weather warms, there’s a tendency to throw open the windows, let the fresh air in and begin tackling those spring cleaning chores. But overdoing it can be a great way to throw out your back. According to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 90 percent of people in the United States suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, and routine activities such as chores are often the cause of flare-ups.1
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help reduce the potential of being sidelined by an injury whether you’re mopping the floors, moving furniture or heavy objects, or turning last year’s garden bed. Vacuuming, for example, is frequently cited as one of the worst chores for the lower back due to the propensity to twist from the waist. To avoid this, occupational therapists recommend keeping your hips and shoulders moving toward the work. Step forward with one foot and bend slightly at the knee, allowing your upper body to stay upright in a partial lunge to reduce strain.1
For additional ways to help save your back, consider the following tips before tackling this year’s spring cleaning:
- Warm up. Perform gentle stretches before and after you complete chores.
- Divide heavy loads whenever possible and reach from as short a distance as possible when picking up objects, keeping the weight as close to your body as possible. When lifting heavy objects, squat rather than bend from the waist, using your knees instead of your back.
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Instead of cleaning all the windows in one day or weekend, divide chores over several days or even weeks to give yourself time to heal from strenuous activity.
- Slide and glide heavy furniture, boxes or other objects. Use furniture sliders (special pads made of either plastic, rubber or felt that fit underneath furniture legs) to easily glide items across the floor. This helps to save not only your back, but your floors.
- Buddy up. Ask a friend, neighbor or family member to help with a promise to return the favor.
- Know your limits. Both pain and fatigue are signs that it’s time to pause, take a break and assess if you’re overdoing it. Even without pain, fatigue can lead to injury as muscles become weak and overworked.
And remember, if you suffer from chronic neck, back or joint pain, be sure to consult a healthcare professional before taking on chores or other strenuous activities that could make your condition worse.
These are the views of Katie Williams, a freelance financial writer and news commentator, not the named Representative or the Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation. Neither the named Representative nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If expert assistance is needed in these areas, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor prior to making any investment decisions.