Everyday chores needn’t be torture. A few easy adjustments can make household tasks a chance to improve your spinal health
Nobody likes doing chores. They’re a necessary evil, but if you suffer from back, neck, hip or even leg pain, a tedious task like putting away the ironing can seem like a torturous one. You want to be able to do your chores efficiently and safely, but if they are going to cause severe pain or discomfort it hardly seems worth the effort. But there is something to do be done.
Changing the way you go about doing a task can change the effect it has on your body, enabling you to stay both mobile and house proud. Below are just a few of the ways you can alter your domestic habits, courtesy of the team at Fornham Chiropractors in Bury St Edmunds All of the following count as exercise, which will benefit your musculoskeletal system in the long term.
Bending down to grasp that last stubborn sock can trigger a painful spasm, particularly in the back. Rather than putting all the strain on your back, let your legs do the work by squatting down to make sure you get all your clothes. This will keep your spine straight instead of bent, and will therefore keep excess weight off it.
Gardening can be one of the more relaxing and pleasurable household tasks, and therefore you should not let niggling injuries get in the way of your enjoyment. If you need to lift a heavy object, like a plant pot, engage your legs and lower abdomen to do some of the work. Bring things to your level, rather than bending down to theirs.And if you want to plant bulbs or saplings in the ground, put something soft down first to protect your knees.
Warming up before doing the gardening may seem excessive, but in actual fact it can help loosen up your muscles, joints and ligaments ahead of the twisting, pushing and pulling that often comes with gardening.
Sometimes it’s tempting to use a vacuum like a scrubbing brush, going over and over the same spot until the offending dirt is dealt with. Instead of engaging in this back and forth, which can be jarring on your back and neck muscles, tackle the room in long sweeps of carpet, going over them again if need be. If you find you need to stretch to get to a difficult to reach area, rather than bending forwards from the hips, step forwards into a little lunge, letting your thighs take the pressure.
All of this advice can also be incorporated into mowing the lawn.
If you find yourself at the same supermarket two or three times a week, it is understandable that you want to get every trip over with as quickly as possible, even if that means carrying more bags than you know you should. But be patient; a moment of exasperation can have long-term consequences. If you have a bad back, always choose a trolley over a basket, even if it seems wasteful, and if you need to walk instead of drive, bring someone else with you to help. When carrying the shopping, keep it as close to yourself as possible, while making sure that both arms are carrying an equal load. Unload bags from the car in a few little trips, rather than one big one, and when all else fails, shop online and get it delivered.
Washing up and ironing
Any activity where you find yourself standing for long periods of time, like washing the dishes or doing the ironing, is a perfect opportunity to strengthen your core muscles and protect against misalignments. Your core muscles are all the muscles around the front, back and sides of your midsection. Brace your lower tummy as you would when coughing or laughing, tuck your tailbone underneath you, lifting your pelvis and contracting your glutes (bottom).
You may feel a bit silly, but it’s easy to do and could have some serious health benefits in the long term.