The mornings are starting to get lighter and the days are getting longer which means spring is on its way! Looking around the house I know it’s nearly time for my annual spring clean. Which means de-cluttering, steam-cleaning floors, thorough scrubbing and mopping as well as getting into the garden.
Unfortunately heavy lifting, scrubbing and difficult household jobs can be tough on your body, specifically your back, especially if you have a history of lower back pain.
Below is a list of tips to try and avoid injuring your back during this years spring clean!
- Take it slow – yes, it is tempting to try and get most things done in a single weekend and just ‘power through’. But repetitive lifting, bending and cleaning, when it’s not something you normally do, is a recipe for injury.
- Split up your jobs – try to vary the type of work you do in a day. For example try to separate your mopping, vacuuming and/or carpet steam cleaning with an activity that takes you out of that bent over position – such as standing and sorting out your wardrobe.
- Get a family member or friend to help with heaving lifting – just because you can lift a heavy couch, doesn’t mean you should.
- If you are sorting out a cupboard or boxes – try to place all of your items on a bench or higher surface to avoid unnecessary repetitive bending.
- Separate items and rubbish into smaller piles and boxes to avoid overfilling and making them too heavy to lift.
- Take regular breaks – it may take a little longer but it is the easiest way to help prevent injury. If you have just spent the last hour bent over in the garden, take a 5-minute break and stand up or walk around to give your back a break.
- Get the family and kids involved – the more hands the better!
Below are a few simple exercises to help break up your cleaning and stretch out your lower back.
• Back extensions in lying or standing – lying on your stomach, place your hands at shoulder height on the floor. Gently lift your upper body off the floor while keeping your hips down. Repeat 10-15 times.
• Hip twists – lying on your back with knees bent up, gently rock your knees side-to-side while keeping your shoulders on the floor – repeat 10 times each way
• Mermaid stretch standing – while standing reach your right arm up towards the ceiling, simultaneously gently slide your left arm down your leg towards your knee. Ease into the stretch and add a gentle side bend if you want a bigger stretch. Hold for 20 seconds then repeat on the other side.
• Roll downs in standing – standing tall slowly bend your chin towards your chest, then chest towards ribs, ribs towards hips while slowly sliding your hands down your legs until you reach as far as possible (this may be knees, shins or floor depending on your flexibility). Gently roll back up repeating the sequence. Repeat 3 times, each time reaching a little lower.
The above stretches are generalised and may not be appropriate for everyone. You shouldn’t feel any pain during or after each exercise. If you have a history of lower back pain and have been given specific exercises, try your usual exercises first.
Spring is too lovely to be wasted being in pain!