It’s spring, and it’s time for spring cleaning! Freshening up your living space can help you get out of winter hibernation, welcome this new season, and boost your mood.
But for people who experience pain on a regular basis, spring cleaning is not easy. Doing chores, moving things around, and even gardening bring risks for injury and worsening of pain.
So how can one prevent injuries and pain during this time of the year? Here are some tips and reminders:
1. Warm up
Stretching is very important before any activity or exercise, and spring cleaning is no exception. Before you start on cleaning, go for a walk and do some light stretches starting from your neck and work yourself down. Muscles need to be warmed up to help avoid injuries.
2. Plan tasks
Do not try to finish everything all at once. Instead, make a list and break tasks down into manageable parts. Remember to take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate!
3. Wear the right gear
Be sure to wear comfortable clothing that you can move in. Avoid pants that are too long to avoid tripping, and wear slip-resistant shoes. Wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and masks when working with equipment and cleaning chemicals.
4. Enlist help
Ask someone to help you, especially on lifting and carrying things. Delegate tasks you cannot handle. Maybe you can even make spring cleaning an activity for the whole family!
5. Use tools correctly
Avoid using extra-heavy tools and equipment. Use mops instead of hands and knees for floors and even bathtubs. Keep the vacuum at waist height and use both hands. If you must use a ladder, make sure you use correct ladders for the jobs. Secure the ladder and if possible, have someone be your spotter to hold the ladder.
6. Lift with caution and proper form
As much as possible, avoid lifting heavy things. If you can, divide heavy loads into smaller loads you can handle. Get help with lifting whenever you can. When lifting, always bend at the knees and not your waist and remember to use your legs instead of your back when lifting. Hold heavy items close to your body.
7. Avoid over-reaching, bending, and twisting
Prepare your tools and cleaning supplies ahead of time and keep them within arm’s reach. Avoid over-reaching and extending especially when on a ladder. Avoid twisting movements and instead, move your entire body to face the direction you want to go to.
8. Look out for hazards and clutter
Be careful of wet floors. After mopping floors, take a break in another room and wait while the floor dries. Be cautious when using extension cords, make sure they are secure and not in your way to avoid tripping and falling. Clean up materials after use and avoid placing them in front of walkways or stairs.
9. Be mindful of your problem areas
Know where your painful areas are and be careful when doing activities that use those areas. If you have back pain, be extra careful with lifting and bending. If you have knee pain, use knee pads or cushions if you must kneel. Wear braces for support as needed.
10. Don’t ignore pain
If you start feeling some pain, don’t force yourself. Pain can be a signal that you are doing too much. Rest, stretch, apply warm or cool compress, or get a massage. If pain persists for a long time or if you have severe pain, see your doctor to be evaluated.
With these tips, preparation, and techniques, we hope you can be able to welcome the season without pain. Happy spring cleaning!