Blog

Don’t Let Housework Be a Pain in Your Back

Household
chores can be a pain in the sacroiliac. Unless you’re careful, routine
activities around the home— washing dishes, vacuuming, even talking
on the phone— can strain your back, including the sacroiliac area
near the tailbone, and result in debilitating discomfort.

But you
can protect your back by knowing the right way to go about such activities,
according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

Consider
lifting. It doesn’t matter whether you’re picking up your child or a heavy
bucket of water, you need to do it the proper way to avoid injury.

How? Bend
from the knees, not the waist. As you lift, hold the item as close to your
body as possible. If you have to turn to place it, step in the direction
of the turn. That way, you’re not twisting your body and straining your
spine.

The American
Chiropractic Association suggest the following do’s and don’ts for chores
and relaxation:

  • When
    you wash dishes, open the cabinet beneath the sink, bend one knee and
    put your foot on the shelf under the sink. Lean against the counter so
    some of your weight is supported in front.
  • When
    ironing, raise one foot a bit. Place it on a small stool or a book to
    take some strain off your back.
  • To vacuum,
    use a “fencer’s stance.” Put all your weight on one foot, then step forward
    and back with the other foot as you push the vacuum forward and back.
    Use the back foot as a pivot when you turn.
  • While
    talking on the phone, don’t cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder.
    That can lock up the spinal joints in the neck and upper back, and cause
    pain. Instead, hold the phone with your hand or use the speakerphone.
  • While
    watching television or relaxing, don’t use the sofa arm as a pillow.
    The angle is much too sharp for your neck.
  • Use
    a cold pack if your back begins to hurt. Wrap an ice pack in a towel
    moistened with warm water. The warmth gives way to gradual cold, which
    likely will alleviate the discomfort. (No ice? Try frozen veggies instead.)
  • If pain
    persists for more than a day or two or if you experience numbness, tingling
    or weakness in your arms or legs, see a doctor of chiropractic. A doctor
    of chiropractic is an expert in spinal health and can help identify and
    treat your problem.