It’s that time of year again. Time to open our doors to the warmer weather and let in what we have been trying to keep out for the last few months.
As we crawl out of our hibernation, many of us will undertake the daunting task of a major clean up. While great to rid our homes of needless clutter (please try to recycle as much as possible – try the reuse center in Burlington on the north service road between Walker’s and Guelph -www.reusecentre.on.ca) this clean up can cause injuries and unnecessary pain and soreness.
We are going to talk about some of the common injuries that happen with cleaning and more importantly, what can you do to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Lift With Your Legs
You’re probably saying, “I’ve heard that before”. That’s because it’s true. What this means is to take the pressure off our backs which are much more susceptible to injury and use our powerful leg muscles. To do this stand as close to the object as you can. Squat down with your back straight and your heels on the ground. When you lift, try to push through your heels and keep the item as close to your body as possible. If you are not able to do these steps, get someone to help you lift.
Another way to lift safely is called the diagonal lift (see picture on the right). To do this properly, approach the object as close as you can. Squat down and place one foot ahead of the other (diagonally!) Keeping your back straight, drive upwards using your legs while keeping the object as close to your body as possible.
Another common injury, while not specific to once is, is that of a repetitive strain. This occurs with cleaning when we perform an action that our bodies aren’t used too over an over again.
Our muscles are not ready for the sudden increase in activity and the fibers in the muscle are torn. This can range from a mild soreness the next day to feeling severe pain and not being able to move the are in question.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to break up whatever task you are performing repetitively (mopping, wiping, scrubbing or any prolonged overhead work). Stretching after your activity can help as well.
If you do end up with soreness or pain use the R.I.C.E. principle:
R: Rest the area that’s injured
I: Ice the area for 15 minutes then takes the ice off. Repeat as needed to reduce inflammation.
C: If possible, compress the area with a warp to reduce swelling.
E: Elevate the injured area above your heart.
General Tip for Safe Spring Cleaning:
- Before you get started with any vigorous or prolonged activity you might be planning, remember to warm up. This help to prevent injuries by getting the blood flowing to the muscles of your arms and legs. Take a brisk walk around your block while pumping your arms for 10 Minutes.
- If you have to do any cleaning or work high up, use a step stool rather than a chair. Don’t overreach. Take the time to move the step stool closer to where you are trying to reach.
- When carrying a load, make sure you can see over it to avoid tripping and falling and always use hand railings when going up a downstairs carrying items.
Springs is a Great Time to Get a Tune-Up!!
With the summer months just around the corner, many of us will be more active. You might be joining a summer recreational league, starting off the golfing season, or jogging and walking outside.
It is important to get a checkup and dust the rust off your joints and muscles so that when you start these activities you are feeling your best.
Our massage therapists and chiropractors can help to get you in the best possible shape and this way you can prevent injuries before they start!