It’s the time of year where we all feel compelled to crank open our windows and clean every inch of our homes, garages, and gardens. Out with the old and in with the fresh air! What most people don’t realize though is that these chores can be extremely hard on the muscles and bones which can lead to aches, pains, and injury. In fact, many home-related injuries that occur are a result of household cleaning… Many chores involve stretching, lifting, pushing, pulling, climbing, twisting and turning, and most people tend to overdo it. So here are some tips to take the pain out of cleaning:
- Set Realistic Goals: Tackle a project over several days so you give your body a rest in between.
- Check your equipment: Make any necessary repairs in order to avoid potential injuries.
- Enlist Help! Ask family members or friends to pitch in.
- Lifting and carrying: When lifting, bend your knees and lift through your legs instead of your back. Also, keep items close to your body rather than having your arms outstretched.
- Vacuuming: Twisting and turning when vacuuming puts increased compression on the spine and neck. To avoid problems, keep the machine or hose close to the front center part of your body and at waist height. Place both hands on the handle and push the vacuum in front of you while walking in a long line, then pull back using the same motion. Never push and pull in short strokes!
- Windows: Keep your feet on the ground or on a step stool (never climb on furniture or windowsills!) Be level with the area you are cleaning to avoid stretching. Also, keep your back straight and avoid tilting your head up or back, especially for a long period of time.
- Mopping: Mop your floors whenever possible, rather than getting on your knees to scrub. Start with small areas, pushing forward and then backward without leaning forward. If scrubbing is needed, place a pad or towels under your knees and avoid reaching too far in any direction.
- Bathtubs and showers: Kneeling, bending and stretching are not recommended. Instead, stand outside the tub with your back straight and use a mop to clean tile walls and the tub.
- Painting: Keep paintbrushes and rollers in front of you and waist-high so that your spine is straight. Looking up at high walls or ceilings for extended periods of time can put extra pressure on nerves and cause pinching and numbness. Paint in short intervals and take frequent breaks.
NEW YEAR… NEW YOU!
Before you start: Consult your MD/ Chiropractor – Heart issues? Injuries? These are things you need to be aware before you start a new exercise routine. These health care providers can educate you on how to safely get back into activity.
Make a plan! Set a schedule and stick to it! Lay out your clothes the night before and prepare your gym bag. Don’t forget to get the right footwear! Consulting your Chiropractor about Custom sports orthotics for your shoes can be a proactive step in taking care of your body.
Start small. Don’t rush it! Too much too quickly can cause injury… Start with moderate cardio 3x a week and resistance training 2x a week with 2 rest days in between for muscles to recover. Remember that rest is part of any workout plan—beginner, intermediate, or advanced! Incorporating chiropractic or massage may also help in muscle repair and pain you may be experiencing. Know your limits and when to stop… Pain, dizziness, and/ or cramps are all signs that your body needs a break.
Important! – Don’t forget to stretch, warm-up and cool-down!
Get a workout buddy! Finding someone with similar fitness goals as you is a great form of motivation!
Fuel your body with the right snacks and water! Water is so important for your muscles, especially if you want them to burn fat, repair, and grow. Don’t starve them!
Most importantly…be kind to yourself. Remember how good your physical activity makes you feel, whether it be a work out at the gym or a sport. Don’t focus on how to fit you used to be and set a realistic time frame for yourself, you’ll get there!
A lot of people think that waking up with neck stiffness is a normal thing… it’s not! If you wake up with neck discomfort, you might not be using the right pillow. Do this simple test when you wake up: tilt your head forward, do you feel pain? If you do, your pillow may be to blame. Our busy days put stress on our joints and muscles so sleeping should be a time for repair and healing, that is IF you’re using a proper pillow, otherwise, you’re just causing more trauma! An easy way to test if your pillow is right for you is by laying on your side and checking that your neck and body are aligned with your head, if not, your pillow may be too high or too low.
Finding the perfect pillow is like finding the perfect mattress, it takes a bit of trial and error… and that is why Edgar Family Chiropractic in Burlington has some options for you. The clinic offers a cervical roll pillow, a water pillow, and the (NEW!) Envy Pillow!
The Canadian- made Envy Pillow was created by Registered Nurse, Kathy Young Keefe. The magic in this pillow is that it provides two levels of support that cradle the head and neck! The elevated pattern in the center distributes your weight and the pressure on your joints to align your spine which may help reduce neck, shoulder, and back pain. The memory foam material is dye free, dust mite resistant, latex free, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic. The Envy pillow and our other pillows help with headaches, jaw pain, temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) pain, pins and needles, numbness, CPAP machine discomfort, fibromyalgia and even snoring! If you are worried about committing to a pillow before you like it, Edgar Family Chiropractic will lend you any one of our pillows to try out at home; and if you don’t like it, then you may try another!