Keeping your home tidy can be challenging especially if you have little tornadoes running behind you.  You don’t want to have lower back pain getting in your way of cleaning your home.  Proper body mechanics are very important to implement so you reduce your chances of lower back pain.

Let’s take a look at a few common household chores, vacuuming, washing the dishes, and picking up laundry and toys. It is important to understand how to perform these tasks in a way that promotes proper posture and doesn’t cause back pain.

Summary of Tips:

  1. Enlist help.  All members of the family can take part and divide the tasks.
  2. Squat or kneel when lifting light or heavy objects. The power should come from your legs, not your back.
  3. Change your position often. When standing for long periods of time widen your stance or alternate your position to avoid repeated stress on the same muscles. Changing your position keeps the blood flowing.
  4. Keep weight close to your trunk. Pull the object close to your body and then lift with your legs instead of your back. Reach from a short distance when possible and move your body prior to twisting to place the object down.
  5. Build strength and balance as you stand. Try standing on one leg while standing doing the dishes. This will build strength in your core.  Alternate your legs every 30 seconds.
  6. Maintain proper posture with a straight back by engaging your stomach muscles without holding your breath.

Three Common Chores:

  • Vacuuming – The most common household chores to cause back pain flare ups are vacuuming, moping, and sweeping. All these activities enlist repeated movements that require you to bend at the waist. It is important to keep your hips and shoulder moving in the direction you want to work to avoid the pain and strain on your muscles. Also, try to stay upright instead of bending over.  A final tip is to try pushing the vacuum forward versus pulling.
  • Laundry and Picking up toys – Laundry can literally be a pain in the rear. The repetitive motion of bending over repeatedly can cause lower back pain.  The same tips can be used when picking up toys.  Try to keep your back straight when possible, instead of bending down over and over again.  You may also try crawling on the ground while picking up toys and laundry to avoid the repetitive bending motion.  Another option to try when picking up items around the house is to try to use your toes to snag the item, lift and drop into a laundry basket.  Kids are never too young to start helping.  Set expectations early that they are to help pick up their things. Some fun ways to make cleaning fun are:
    • Have your children toss toys into designated baskets sorting by color, size, or type of toy.
    • Use their toes to pick up clothing and toss into the appropriate baskets based on whites or colors.
    • Line up books on the shelf from tall to short.
    • Set a timer and see how fast they can pick up.
  • Washing Dishes – Our kitchen sink seems like it is never empty, and we are constantly doing dishes. To avoid back pain while doing endless dishes, keep your posture as upright as possible, instead of bending over the sink to scrub dishes.  You may find it helpful to open the cabinet doors underneath the sink and place on foot inside to help you squat lower and keep your back upright. This pose may seem awkward, but you will avoid back and neck pain and get a little toning in for the behind.  Utilizing a padded floor mat underneath the sink to help cushion your feet is beneficial.  Lastly, a tip to implement is standing on one-leg for 30 seconds on each side.  Continue to alternate the sides.  You will strengthen and improve your balance in the process.

Hopefully these quick fixes can make cleaning your home easier with less aches and pains.  Watch a video demonstrating helpful tips on how-to clean without the pain.  If you are experiencing back pain it is important to get these issues addressed versus “hoping” they just fix themselves.  Your pain is most likely due to muscle imbalances that have developed overtime due to poor posture, repetitive motions, and chronic straining.  Don’t let pain keep you from enjoying your life.  We are here at Venture to help you Move Better, Feel Better and Be a Better you!