Spring is here, and for a lot of people that means spring cleaning time! Spring cleaning can include anything from a thorough cleaning of their living space, to packing up and getting rid of things they no longer want or need. Just the thought of that is sure to make many people groan, because not only does it take a lot of time and hard work, but it can be a literal pain for them to do because they suffer with back problems.
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For people who live with back, neck, or sciatica pain, packing up boxes of those unwanted items and moving them out of their homes can be a daunting task. Lifting and carrying boxes or items incorrectly is one of the most common ways of causing back injury. So people need to be as careful as possible when spring cleaning so that they do not cause an injury to their back or re-aggravate an existing one. The following tips will help everyone to prevent back problems and pain while spring cleaning:
- The very first thing to do, which is probably also the most important, is to plan ahead and prepare for what you want to do. Decide what tasks you are going to tackle first, and how. Figure out how much time you have to complete your tasks and plan accordingly. Don't try to rush it, especially when moving things, because you can easily hurt yourself when you are in a hurry.
- Stretch! Like with any kind of exercise, some light stretching beforehand can loosen up your muscles and make lifting and carrying things much easier.
- When you are going to move an item, think it through first. Visualize exactly how you plan on moving it: How and where are you going to hold on to the item? How will your body be positioned when you lift it? Where are you taking it? Is the path you will be taking clear and safe? It may seem silly to be so careful, but it only takes a moment to plan ahead and be safe, and one little mistake when moving something can lead to a lifetime of back pain.
- Do you have everything you need to complete your tasks? Make sure you have plenty of boxes and tape. Also, it is very important to stay hydrated while cleaning, so be sure you have plenty of water available.
- If you are moving boxes, you want to make sure they are taped up and sturdy so that it is not awkward to carry them, otherwise they will cause extra unnecessary stress on your back.
- Do you need help? Sometimes people think they can handle lifting and carrying their boxes on their own, only to realize once they try that the box is too heavy or bulky for one person to carry. Trying to lift or carry something that is too heavy for you can lead to major back problems. If you think you need help, do not hesitate to ask someone, or get a hand truck or dolly you can use to move the boxes!
During the Lift
- When beginning to lift something, start at your feet. Make sure you have good footing, and that they are shoulder-width apart. This gives you a wide base of support for when you lift, which increases your body's stability and lowers your center of gravity.
- Lift with your knees! Everyone has heard this rule, but it is very true. When you are going to lift an item, you want to bend at the knees and let the strong muscles in your legs do most of the work.
- Make sure you keep your spine straight at all times! This is vital to preventing back problems when lifting. Imagine you are holding a broomstick against your spine; you want your entire spine to be against that broomstick as much as possible. And your spine should stay that way, even when lifting something. When you need to bend down, bend at the hip and knees, not the lower back.
- DO NOT TWIST YOUR LOWER BACK. This is a rule that many people ignore, but it is one of the most dangerous movements you can do to your lower back, especially when carrying something heavy. Instead of twisting, turn using your feet.
- Keep your item as close to you as possible. When lifting and carrying things, you use are using your spine, arms, legs, and back muscles the most. Having to reach out for something can put a tremendous amount of extra pressure on them, and lead to injury. Keeping the item close to you keeps your spine and muscles in a more neutral and natural position.
By following these simple tips, you can prevent yourself from causing any unnecessary pain and finish your spring cleaning with a healthy back!
At The Illinois Back Institute we are dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it. We specialize in Functional Disc Rehydration - a multi-disciplinary approach to making the back healthier without surgery, injections or medications.
If you would like to schedule a Free Back Pain Consultation, you can give us a call at 844-408-0462 or click here:
Also, if you would like to learn more about your back pain, or would like to know more about what we do and how our treatment works, we regularly hold Free Educational Seminars at each one of our clinics! To find out when the next seminar is and reserve a seat, click here:
If you found these tips helpful, you may be interested in our Free Email Series of Top Ten Tips for Back Pain Relief! These tips include several suggestions on what you can do in your day-to-day life to relieve and prevent back, neck, and sciatica pain! To sign up for the Free Series, click here:
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