Every year, this single spring activity results in sprains, strains, aches and pains for thousands of Canadians. Golf? Baseball? No, spring cleaning.
Tidying up your home and yard? All that bending, lifting, climbing and stretching can pose a threat, says the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation – especially if you don’t take the proper precautions.
Spring cleaning can flare up underlying conditions, or cause other injuries, not just because it’s physically demanding, but because it’s something you don’t do regularly.
Back spasms, wrist and shoulder strains, and microtears of muscles and ligaments are all real concerns. To prevent such mishaps, the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation offers these tips:
- Don’t overdo it. The basement didn’t get filled with clutter overnight, so you don’t have to clean it all in one day. Pace yourself, especially if you’ve been relatively inactive during the winter. Get help moving heavy objects. And avoid the “lazy man’s load”, where you carry too much to avoid an extra trip. You can easily strain something, or lose your footing and fall.
- Use proper techniques when bending or lifting – keep feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees, keep stomach muscles tight, lift with your leg muscles, and keep objects close to your body.
- When you have to reach that top shelf, use a step stool instead of a chair or couch. If you’re using a ladder, ensure it’s on a firm and level surface; in the spring, the ground outside can be soft or wet.
- Even simple movements can cause injury. Stay aware of repetitive motions – like stacking boxes or raking – and take breaks. Instead of over-reaching or twisting your body awkwardly, stop and move closer to the task at hand.
While you’re getting your house in shape, spring is also a perfect opportunity to get your body in shape. Do a physical assessment; What’s the state of your joints? What’s your fitness level? Are your shoulders and knees wearing out?
Spring is a great time to commit to being active and mobile. For the thousands of Canadians unable to partake in physical related activities as a result of bone and joint surgery, they can seek support through the Ortho Connect program.