Preventing Back Injury During Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning:
I know all of you are hoping, just like I am, that spring is finally around the corner. For most of us, the change of season brings the "itch" for spring cleaning. With this in mind, I thought I would present everyone with some tips on lifting techniques to reduce the risk of serious injury.

  1. Stand close to objects you are trying to lift.
    When you are trying to lift something whether it is from the floor or off a shelf get as close to the object as you can before picking it up. It is simple physics; the further away an object is from your body, the greater torque it will put on your shoulders, back, etc. Greater torque=Stronger muscle force needed to lift.
  2. Bend your knees.
    Remember, when picking something off the floor, don't bend only at your back. You should have your back straight, head up, and knees bent. The muscles in your back are very small compared to your quadriceps and gluteal muscles in your legs. Smaller muscles are at greater risk of strain because they can't generate as much force, and they fatigue quicker.
  3. Take breaks.
    All of your work doesn't have to be completed in one day. Just as Jules said last week, we are coming out of the "winter hibernation". Take some breaks. If you feel tired and try to push through, you are putting yourself at risk for injury. As you get tired, your lifting posture will deteriorate. The more it deteriorates, the higher your risk of injury.

If you follow these tips, you will have taken the steps needed to prevent back injury while performing your spring cleaning chores. Of course, we know that not everyone is perfect. If you tweak your back, or for that matter any part of your body, give us a call. As physical therapists, we are the experts at conservative management of musculo- skeletal issues.