Home chores, if done incorrectly, can cause major low back pain. I personally know many people who have injured their backs in this way. So what are some specific housework activities that you should check your body mechanics for? Today let’s focus on laundry! Even if you do not do the laundry, these are still tips you can use with other activities.
When loading the washing machine, keep your back straight! Pick up the entire basket (via squatting, not bending) and hold it in front of you at waist height, while loading the clothes. You can use one leg to help hold the basket between your body and the front of the washer. Another option is to do your squats for the day and squat down several times (without bending your back forward) to pick up the clothes out of the basket. Another option is to carefully lift the entire basket and pour all the clothes into the washer. Just remember to keep your back straight as you lift and lower the basket.
When taking wet clothes out of the washer, lift one leg back behind you as you lean forward and try to keep the straight position of your spine as you reach down. This is the same technique golfers use when picking up a golf ball. Then stand upright with feet spread apart. Squat with your back straight and toss the clothes into the dryer. Be extra careful not to twist your back during the transfer of clothes from washer to dryer.
To remove clothes from the dryer, either squat, kneel or sit on a step stool in order to keep your back straight. Don’t forget to keep your back straight as you lift the full laundry basket (via a squat). And do not twist your back to turn with the basket. Just take small steps whenever you need to turn.
Can you think of housework activities that you have been doing wrong?