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Lower Back Pain After Cleaning House

Back pain is horrible. And when you get more lower back pain after cleaning, it is just infuriating. You feel limited by the pain and its effect on your life. But there are ways to decrease the amount of lower back pain you experience after cleaning.

clean with back pain

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First, Here Are A Few Things You Need To Know…

1//  I am not a medical professional.  Nor have I ever been one.  Nor will I ever be one.  Therefore, before trying ANYTHING in this post, PLEASE speak to a medical professional about it first.  The last thing I want for you is to have more pain because of something I recommended.

2//  I am a mom.  I spent many of my mom years laying on a couch in pain, and feeling really depressed because I wasn’t living up to my mom/wife/woman duties.  It was a really hard and horrible time in my life, so if you are there now, I know what you are going through and I really want to help you.  Which is why I wrote this post.

3//  I am no longer in severe or chronic pain.  But I do still get lower back pain after cleaning and that is why I clean with the tips I am going to give you below.  Know that the tips I give you come from years of physical therapist advice, doctor advice, and trial and error on my part.  I hope you can find some relief through what I write.

4//  I recommend some cleaning tools to help make cleaning easier for you at the end of this post.

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How To Clean House With A Bad Back

1//  Avoid Lower Back Pain After Mopping Floors In Your Home

One of the biggest causes of lower back pain after cleaning a house is from mopping.  Mopping puts a lot of strain on your body because of how you are twisting, reaching, and bending in order to perform the task.  Here are some things I changed about the way I mop so I could avoid lower back pain after mopping:

  1. Find a lightweight mop that does not hold a ton of water and you do not have to bend over to wring out.  (Or use Swiffer mop pads on your regular Swiffer).
  2. Only fill your bucket with enough water to just cover your mop, then take the time to dump and refill when needed instead of carrying a full and heavy bucket of water.
  3. Possibly opt for a spray an mop method where you spray the cleaner on the floor and then mop it up.  This eliminates the heavy bucket and much of the bending.
  4. Make sure your shoes are clean so you do not put dirty prints on your floor when I tell you these next steps.
  5. Instead of bending to the side and twisting your body to mop the floor, I want you to stand straight up, with the mop in ONE hand, and just walk straight forward and then straight back.
  6. Do this until you get tired, and then take a break and come back to it later or another day.

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2// Avoid Lower Back Pain After Vacuuming Carpets And Rugs

Vacuums are kind of the evil of all housework when it comes to back pain.  Not only are they super heavy, but they are awkward to move, and they cause you to do a lot of twisting which can cause your back to hurt.  

Instead of twisting with the vacuum, try these modifications…

  1. Keep the vacuum in front of you instead of to the side.  
  2. Use two hands instead of one hand, and no twisting.  
  3. Walk straight up and then pull straight back.  
  4. Try to keep your body from twisting as much as possible.
  5. When you get tired stop and rest.  I recommend laying down for a while and then resuming.
  6. If all else fails, you may need to purchase a lightweight vacuum.
lower back pain after cleaning

3// Avoid Lower Back Pain Washing Dishes

I used to get a lot of lower back pain while washing dishes.  It was mostly because I was just standing in one place for a long period of time on a hard floor.  So here are some ways I changed things for the better…

  1. Purchase something soft to stand on, whether it is a pair of Asics shoes or a cushioned gel floor mat.
  2. Open the cabinet door in front of you and place one foot on the floor of the cabinet.  This helps you rest one side of your body.  Then switch feet whenever you need to.
  3. Rest your elbows on the sink front to give your body a little support.
  4. When you get tired, take a break and rest.

4// Avoid Back Pain When Sweeping The Floor In Your House

Sweeping the floor is another cleaning task that requires twisting.  And since twisting is not a great thing for keeping back pain away, I recommend the following instead.

  1.  Purchase a Swiffer with a vacuum.  
  2. Walk straight up and straight back with the Swiffer in front of you.  

This helps because you are not twisting like you would when using a broom.  Also, the Swiffer is very light weight and therefore uses less strength to move.

5// Avoid Lower Back Pain From Cleaning Low Surfaces Around The House

Cleaning low surfaces like the kitchen table, end tables, or anything else in your home that is around that height can be difficult and cause back pain.  Here are some tricks I have learned for getting those surfaces clean without killing your back.

  1.  Sit down in a kitchen chair or nearby couch or chair when you clean the lower table surfaces.
  2.  Don’t reach far.  Instead, move around the table cleaning just the spot right in front of you.
  3. Squat instead of bending.  If there is no place to sit down then use a slight squat movement instead of bending to get down to the level you need to be at.
  4. For end tables and coffee tables, you may be able to kneel on one knee in order to lower your body without bending.

6// Avoid Lower Back Pain From Doing Laundry

Maybe you have a newer washer than I do, but for me, I still have a top loader.  So when I have back pain, or want to avoid getting back pain, I have to be careful when pulling the wet laundry out of the washing machine.

Since the clothes are wet, they are heavier, this is especially true with towels and blankets.  They also get wrapped up and tangled during the washing process.  Both of those things together can really wreak havoc on your back.  Instead use these tips:

  1. Instead of facing the washer and bending at the waist to get your laundry out, turn your body to the side (so your hip is against the washing machine) and use a squat motion and just one arm to remove the laundry.  
  2. Try to avoid bending or leaning from the waist as much as possible.
  3. Make sure to only grab ONE item at a time…not a huge heavy bunch.
  4. If the article of clothing you are trying to remove is tangled with other articles, making it hard to take out of the washer, try to find something that is easier to remove or try to untangle the item before you pull it out.

When removing items from the dryer:

  1. Kneel down in front of the washing machine and remove the laundered items instead of bending at the waist.  (You may want to place something under your knees, like a pillow, cushion, or folded up yoga mat.)
  2. Ask a family member to carry the laundry basket full of laundry or take the laundry out yourself by carrying an armful at a time against your body. (this will take a few trips)
  3. Use a small, lightweight laundry basket so you do not carry too much at one time.

7// Avoid Lower Back Pain From Cleaning Baseboards

The best way to clean baseboards without bending over and injuring your back, is to use the right tool. Here are the tools I recommend:

  1. This dust mop will help you dust baseboards that are in rooms with hard wood floors. The dusting end is flexible and will allow you to dust the hardwood along with the baseboards at the same time.
  2. This telescopic duster will help you reach baseboards in carpeted rooms without bending over. The beauty of this duster is not just the telescopic pole, but also the fact that you can bend the duster to any shape you need.
benefits of using vinegar to clean floors

The Best Cleaning Tools For A Bad Back

Lower back pain after cleaning the house can sometimes be caused by not using the right equipment when you clean.

All of the following tools are lightweight and easy to use, when you have a bad back, or they are tools you can use to make yourself more comfortable while cleaning.

I always recommend Swiffer products to anyone who tells me they have back pain.  Why?  Because they are extremely lightweight and therefore easy to use when you want to clean but are afraid of making your pain worse.  Swiffer has loads of products, but these are the 4 I like best:

Swiffer

Swiffer Duster

Swiffer Vac

Swiffer Mop Pads

When you are standing in the kitchen doing dishes one of the most important things you can do is have some cushion under your feet.  I was never a person who wore shoes in the house, especially with small children, but once I found out that wearing the right shoes could help my back pain, I was all about it.  Now, I have a pair of gym shoes that I wear ONLY in the house…I never wear them out and get them dirty.  

For that reason, I put the ONLY pair of athletic shoes I ever purchase on this list:

Asics Gel Cumulus Shoes

Or you could get a mat to stand on if you are not convinced about wearing shoes in the house yet:

Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat

When you have back pain, the last thing you want to be doing is getting on step stools or bending over to reach hard to reach places.  Instead, here are some tools that I use all the time so I can protect my back but still clean my house the way I want.

Telescopic Duster for dusting high places.

Small Lightweight Bucket on wheels so you are not carrying heavy water buckets.

Lightweight Vacuum if the heavy regular vacuum is just not something you can use right now.

Small Laundry Basket so you make sure to only carry really small loads at a time.

Spray Bottles so you can spray and mop the floor if mopping is just too much for you right now.

Flexible Dust Mop so you can dust your floor and baseboards without bending.

Bendable Dust Mop so you can dust under and around your appliances without bending or stooping.

lower back pain after cleaning

Lower Back Pain After Cleaning

For over 10 years now, I have been dealing with back pain.  It is SO much better now.  I currently live a life where I am functional and can do things independently.  But for 10 years after having my first child, I spend much of my time in intense pain, bed or couch ridden, and very depressed.  

Much of the work around my house had to be done by my husband or mom.  But I am happy to say, that after years of physical therapy and praying, I have finally been able to come to a place in my life where I can put my pain behind me for the most part.

Meaning, I am back to doing housework…hmmm, not sure I have things better now than I did when I got to lay on the couch and watch my husband do it all!  

But I will say, that being able to take care of yourself, your kids, your family, and your home is something that, without it, can cause you to tailwind into thoughts of depression and anxiety. Trust me, I have been there.

So if I can give you just one tip that helps you feel independent again by doing housework, then I will have hopefully helped you.

Cleaning Really Can Cause Back Pain

There are a number of reasons that cleaning can cause back pain:

1//  You have an underlying back condition.

2//  Your core muscles are weak.

3//  You are using poor posture.

4//  You are not modifying your movements.

All of these points can play a part in causing back pain from cleaning.  And sometimes you may have more than one point you are dealing with that is causing the problem.

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How To Stop A Sore Back From Cleaning

Stopping back pain due to cleaning is not too difficult.  As long as your back pain is actually caused by the cleaning, and not another underlying problem.  Remember to seek medical advice if your pain does not go away.

The trick I have found for dealing with back pain after cleaning house is to modify my movements while cleaning.  It is hard to think about doing your cleaning differently than you always have in the past, but by making just a few changes, you can stop a sore back in it’s tracks.

lower back pain after cleaning

More Tips For Avoiding Back Pain After Cleaning Your Home

First and foremost, these tips will only work if you do the following…

1)  Realize that you are in pain and therefore cannot work as hard as you normally would.  

2)  Strive for better not perfect while you are dealing with your back pain.  

3)  Realize that if you take it easy now, you will eventually be able to clean the regular way again.  

4)  Take breaks often to rest your muscles.  

Be patient with yourself and try the following modifications when performing you cleaning tasks.

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benefits of using vinegar to clean glass

Ending Back Pain From The Cleaning House 

Stopping lower back pain after cleaning the house is something that can be achieved.

Back pain does not have to take away your independence, but in order to keep your independence, you may need to make some adjustments to your daily life and how you perform tasks.  I hope that the tips I gave you above will help you find a way to take back your own independence and keep being able to clean your home.

I truly hope this post is helpful in making your back pain journey easier.

Julie

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