10 Tips to Prevent Household Chore Injuries
- Dr. Kevin Bloom
Some of the most common back injuries involve household chores. Completion of household chores without the proper posture may result in pain. Pain can be caused by lifting and bending incorrectly or by simply overdoing it.
The following lifting tips will allow you perform household chores and remain functional while either eliminating or minimizing painful symptoms:
- To prevent back pain and lower back injuries, perform gentle warm-up exercises before beginning. For example, while standing upright, slide your right arm down the outside of your right leg to the right knee. Hold for five seconds. If you cannot go this far, go as far as you can. Do the same movements on your left side. Repeat several times. Another possible exercise would be to go for a short walk.
- If lifting is necessary, keep your back straight and lift with your legs. Keep the load as close to your body as possible. Try to avoid twisting. If the object is too heavy, get help.
- When lifting, try to split up loads. For example, instead of filling a clothes hamper to the top, split the load into three lighter loads and make three separate trips.
- When vacuuming, walk forward and backward while keeping the vacuum close to your body instead of bending and reaching forward with the vacuum repetitively. The same strategy can be utilized with mopping and sweeping. In addition, avoid twisting.
- Position your body as close as possible to where you are cleaning in order to avoid any unnecessary reaching and bending.
- Try to maintain proper posture upon completing chores.
- If possible, switch hands while doing household chores. For example, it is recommended to switch hands regularly when scrubbing bathtub tiles.
- Do not perform any one activity for a prolonged period of time. It is less stressful on your body to do multiple chores in one day for shorter durations of time than to do the same chore continuously (i.e. vacuuming the entire house in one day).
- Pace yourself. For example, do not complete all chores on Sunday and then do nothing for the rest of the week. Make a list at the beginning of each week of what needs to get done around the house. This way, you can spread tasks out evenly across the week.
- There are a number of ergonomic household products designed to promote proper posture and help prevent improper bending and lifting injuries. For example, there are lightweight vacuums, long-handled bathtub scrubbers, and ergonomic laundry baskets.