Household Chores and Pain

It’s a never ending task that we all need to do; household chores.  It’s not unusual for our providers to hear certain tasks cause discomfort when people are coming in to deal with certain issues.  There are ways to lessen the discomfort you feel.  


Loosen up and warm up

Like any activity, making sure your body is ready to take on a task but warming up is ideal.  This could be by going through ranges of motions and doing just a couple of light stretches

Mind your posture

Keeping your torso nice and tall and walking back and forth with a vacuum for example, is much preferred over repetitive reaching forward putting your lower back in a more strained position.  Sometimes there may be an awkward space that we need to reach into.  If there are obstacles in the way of cleaning, move them instead of trying to awkwardly reach around them. 


Change up which hand you use

We tend to go with our dominant hand for most tasks.  Try using your non-dominant hand to help share the workload. 


Do a little each day

A lot of people like to do all the housework all in one go.  For some, this may be more than what their bodies can tolerate.  Doing a quick 30 minute clean each day or focusing on 1-2 rooms or tasks each day can lessen the stain on your body.


Lighten the load

When carrying laundry or other items through your home, don’t overload the basket or try to carry an excessive amount.  Making multiple trips to move the items around your home may be a better option.  Remember to lift with your legs and not your back even for lighter loads.  The same goes for taking out the trash.  Using bins on wheels or even a small trolly/dolly for larger heavier items can be helpful.  Making sure your walkway is clear of ice and snow and wearing proper footwear is also key to minimize your chance of slips and falls.    


Common Problems with Household Chores

  • Vacuuming is a common task of concern for people.  It’s an activity where you can quickly find yourself in a slouched posture. Using a small lunge position can be helpful.  It’s important to stay in a pain free stance so no need go into an exaggerated lunge position.  Just place one foot in front of the other by a small distance.  This will allow you to shift your weight back and forward without hunching. 


  • Washing dishes, as it can put us in a flighty flexed forward position depending on the height of your sink, is another common culprit that patients have questions about.  Using a small step stool can be helpful to rest one leg on while you complete your task.  


  • Sweeping and raking is another common motion to cause problems for people.  Instead of overly involving your back to do that task, focus on effectively using your arms and legs while keeping your back relatively neutral. Reaching and pulling with your arms while pivoting on your feet to change direction can be helpful.  


Keeping your spine neutral, using the proper equipment for the job, and avoiding twisting where possible will go a long way to helping you avoid injuries.  If you find yourself in pain or discomfort when completing these tasks, make an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.  You can reach our Byward clinic at 613.860.8600 and our Glebe location at 613.237.9000.