Your Back and House Work
Many of us would believe that those that do heavy manual work are the only people who are at risk of hurting their lower back but they would be very wrong. Many activities during the day involve using our lower back, also known as the lumbar spine, and it is vital to avoid awkward lifting, twisting and bending when considering either injury prevention or when you are recovering from a back injury.
The lumbar spine consists of five vertebrae that sit on top of the sacrum and these are separated by intervertebral discs. There are numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves involved in both support and movement of your lower back. Any one of these structures can become injured and give rise to pain and it is not always the result of a heavy lift. In fact many lower back injuries are the result of repetitive everyday chores carried out with poor technique with regard to the lower back.
So let us consider a few everyday house work chores and how to improve our chances of not hurting our back.
Washing: Squat down by bending your knees and keeping square on to the machine. Put your washing basket down directly under the machine door. Avoid putting it to the side which involves potential bending and twisting when loading and unloading. Take care when unloading the wash and never lift a whole basket of wet washing as it weighs a lot more post wash. Consider transferring the washing to your line in manageable stages.
Dishwasher: To avoid bending and twisting place one hand on the work top and step forward with the opposite leg. Then as you bend the front leg at the knee allow the other leg to bend and also allow the heel to come away from the floor. This should help keep your back both straight and strong.
Vacuuming: Try to avoid bending from the waist. If you are using a cylinder and you feel you are bending then a simple remedy is to increase the wand length. For both uprights and cylinder vacuums try to keep the shoulder and elbow in a natural position close to the body, this will reduce the want to bend from the waist. Rather than using a repetitive pushing and pulling action try to walk your vacuum across the area to be cleaned and be conscious of a good posture. Finally remember listen to your back and pace yourself and avoid doing the whole house in one go.
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