In my last blog, I explained the mechanics of how lifting incorrectly can cause strain on the lower back. An interesting observation I’ve found, is that what most people do automatically for heavier tasks, is the correct way to lift!
Consider lifting a wheelbarrow with dirt in it. Most people will bend their knees, grab the handles, then straighten their knees to lift. Because it’s heavy…. Similarly, while mowing the lawn with a regular push-mower, most people will stand up straight and push the mower using their legs. Because it’s heavy….
Now, with vacuuming, a lot of my clients say that this task “kills their back!” I find that the usual cause is not the vacuuming itself, but HOW they are doing it. Most people plant their feet and lean forward, pushing and pulling the vacuum cleaner using their arms. If you remember from my last blog, this is exactly the position that will cause strain on the lower back!
The simple solution? I tell clients to use a safety pin to pin their shirt sleeve to their side. Then, as soon as they go to move their arm away from their body to reach, this acts as a reminder to keep their arm close to their side. Subsequently, they remember to use their legs to move their body and complete their tasks. If you were to walk your vacuum cleaner across the room like a lawn mower (aka “mowing your carpet”), your back will likely feel much better.
Use this simple tip during all your lighter daily activities, and see the immediate results in less back pain!
If you have persistent symptoms that are not resolving, you may require an assessment and treatment by one of our trained physiotherapists. Call the office at 250-743-3833 to book an appointment.
Vince Avery, BScPT, FCAMPT, CGIMS
Co-Owner of South Cowichan Physiotherapy
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