Your back and spine are constantly bearing the brunt of your day-to-day activities. It can be useful to pick up tips to protect the back in household chores and avoid the aches and pains you now associate with many of these routine tasks. Whether it is doing the dishes, mopping, or cooking meals, the back is under strain every time you bend or twist it or even if you find yourself standing in one position without movement – like with a pile of laundry to iron – for several hours.
Here are some tips to protect your back in household chores:
Avoid hunching or bending your back: Regardless of whether you’re doing ironing or chopping vegetables, be sure you never bend your back awkwardly. If you need to bend, bend at the waist for any work at waist-level or squat down on the ground for anything needing you to reach towards the floor.
Lift Correctly: When lifting heavy objects like furniture, a full basket of laundry, heavy grocery bags, or even a bucket full of water, always carry it using a safe technique. Never try and carry anything that’s over 20% of your body weight.
- Keep the back straight and avoid bending at the waist. Only bend your knees when needed.
- Ensure the object is held close to your body to reduce strain on the back.
- Don’t carry it below the knees or above your armpit.
Don’t stand stationary for great lengths of time: Standing in one position without moving can be bad for your back and leave you feeling sore and stiff. Try and move around a little every now and then, shifting the weight between feet and from the heels to the toes and vice versa. Stretch when you can. These actions help with blood circulation and reduce the chances of a stiff painful back.
Keep a stool handy: A low footstool (one that is just one step high) is useful for taking the load off your back if you feel back pain when washing dishes. Simply put one foot up on the stool so that leg is elevated and bent at the knee while the other is straight. This subtle change lowers the strain on your back. Alternatively, elevate your leg on the little ledge of the cabinet below the sink. The same stool is also useful for sitting on while doing tasks like loading the washing machine or any work that’s close to the floor like putting away your child’s toys. This prevents you from awkwardly bending down to reach for things, protecting your back.
Get tools that lighten the load: If you’re prone to lower back pain when sweeping, try switching from a traditional mopping cloth and broom to a long-handled mop and broom. This reduces the need for bending your back to clean the home. If you’re getting a vacuum cleaner, try and find one that has a long enough handle so that you can comfortably stand and clean. Just be sure the mop or vacuum cleaner isn’t too heavy as an overly heavy device can again strain the back. Ensure it offers a good grip.
Learn the right technique: There’s a right way and wrong way to do most common household chores. Learn the correct technique for all of them – there’s plenty of instructional videos available online. For instance, if you’re mopping the floor and notice a spot you’ve missed to the right, don’t just twist your upper body and mop that area – the twisting can be hard on your lower back. Instead, turn your entire body and move your feet so that you now face the missed spot and mop it.
Be mindful of your posture always: Check yourself now and then to ensure you’re following the right technique and that your posture is right.
In general, while standing to do household chores, be sure to check that this is your standing posture:
- Keep your knees bent a little and feet shoulder-distance apart. The weight must be mainly on the balls of your feet.
- Pull your shoulders back and keep your stomach tucked in.
- Try and feel yourself elongating your spine so you stand tall.
- Keep your chin tucked in, ensure your head doesn’t jut out too far back or forward.
When doing household chores seated, keep these sitting posture tips in mind:
- Keep your feet flat on the ground or on a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor. Your knees must be at hip level or slightly lower.
- Ensure there’s a couple of inches between the front of the seat and the backs of your knees.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
- Keep your shoulder relaxed and back straight. Use a back support if required.
Fast-acting Back Pain Relief
If you develop a backache after doing your household chores, there’s a quick and effective remedy that you can try. Omnigel is an over-the-counter pain relief remedy that acts within minutes. It also eases any associated swelling, inflammation, and stiffness giving you complete relief from the pain. This topical pain relief gel is also available in a pain spray variant. It’s easy-to-use and can be a real lifesaver for anyone who’s suffering from aches and pains due to their daily household chores.
Omnigel can give you respite from all kinds of aches and pains, find out more about how it helps with everything from everyday strain to arthritis, sports injuries, and more.