Cleaning is one of those tasks that will always be on your to-do list. However, some common house cleaning chores can be a source of spine pain as you bend, turn, and make repetitive motions with your arms, shoulders, legs, or hips. Minimize your risk of developing new back or neck pain or aggravating an existing spine-related condition by keeping the following tips in mind as you clean your house in Santa Monica. Spine surgery may be necessary if you experience severe and chronic pain even when you’re not doing an activity like cleaning.
1. Stretch Before You Clean
As you clean, reduce your risk of back spasms that result in sudden pain by stretching first. Focus on the muscles you’ll likely use while cleaning, including the flexor muscles in the “front” of the spine that help with flexing, bending, and lifting. Try these simple spine stretches:
- Sitting on a chair or on the floor with your back straight and one leg crossed over the other while gently twisting toward the crossed leg (repeat with other side)
- Side-to-side neck stretches
- Gentle forward and backward bends while standing with your hands on your hips
- Shoulder rolls
2. Use Proper Lifting/Bending Techniques
If you are going to be lifting bushels and other objects or bending to pick up items from the floor or on steps, keep proper techniques in mind to protect your spine. Hold whatever it is you’re lifting close to your body, bend at your knees and not your waist, and turn your entire body if you’re lifting and moving an object at the same time to avoid excessive twisting.
3. Take Breaks or Do Your Cleaning Over a Few Days
If you have a lot of tasks on your daily or weekend cleaning list, take periodic breaks to rest. Another option is to take breaks to stretch or walk around to get your circulation going to help nutrients get to your spine. If you have too much cleaning to do, consider doing it over a few days rather than trying to get it all done in a single day.
4. Shift Positions as You Clean
Periodically shift positions when cleaning, especially when focusing on a single task, to prevent placing strain on muscles that directly or indirectly support your spine. If you can’t shift too much because of the task you’re performing, widen your stance or change hands if you’re reaching, wiping, or scrubbing. Also consider:
- Being mindful of your posture as you clean
- Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes
- Using a stable footstool to reach higher areas to avoid muscle strain
- Using an extension arm with a claw (to hold the dust rag) to reach higher shelves
5. Know When to Ask for Help
Give yourself and your spine a break by seeking help with your regular cleaning tasks from family and friends. It’s a good way to get your work done faster, and you’ll have someone to help with some of the more demanding tasks. You’ll also have someone to steady a ladder or lend a hand with strenuous lifting.
Further minimize your risk of being surprised by pain when cleaning by vacuuming with both hands to stabilize your spine and using brooms or mops with longer handles so you won’t have to excessively lean forward. Any lingering discomfort you may experience while cleaning shouldn’t be ignored. If home remedies like resting and applying some ice or heat aren’t providing relief, see a board-certified spine doctor in Santa Monica.
If your spine pain is affecting your quality of life, get in touch with The Spine Institute Center today. We specialize in a wide array of spinal procedures, from epidural injections to spinal fusion surgery. Santa Monica residents who are seeking relief from their chronic spine pain can call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.