Category: Featured Articles

pain from housework and yard work

How to Avoid Pain from Housework and Yard Work in 5 Steps

Whether we do it because we like it – or because we have to – housework and yard work can cause neck and back pain to flare up, leaving us sore or even worse, causing an injury. If you have a pre-existing issue in your neck or back, you’ve always got to be cautious about reinjuring yourself. And if you don’t have that kind of pain already, the last thing you want is to start down a path of chronic back or neck pain. Fortunately, you have more control over this than you think.


Here are five ways to prevent you from experiencing minor annoyances to major pain that can occur from doing household chores. Take them to heart and you can have a clean house, a nice yard, AND feel well!


Feet First

First and foremost, wear supportive shoes. I cannot tell you how many of my patients complain that their back pain flared up horribly over the weekend after cleaning and cooking a lot. With some probing, I often find out that they were walking barefoot around the house while doing all of those activities. I hear similar stories with yard work only to find out that the patient was wearing flip flops in the yard. Having proper arch support in the feet can take stress off the knees, hip and back. So, start your house and yard work by wearing supportive shoes – or even better – wear custom made orthotics in your shoes for optimal support. Don’t have any? We can help you get some right here in our office.


Drink Up

Stay hydrated. You’ve heard me talk about hydration for many health reasons. It applies here as well. If it is hot outside, add some electrolytes to your water. Being well hydrated and not letting your electrolytes get too low will help prevent muscle cramping and spasms. My preference for this is EmergenC, as it is quick, inexpensive and easy to find at any drugstore.


Take a Stand

pain from housework and yard workHow you stand or bend can make a big difference in avoiding pain after household activities. When sweeping or raking, try a scissor stance with your legs instead of bending forward. Put one leg forward and one leg back, keeping your chest up while you sweep or rake. Switch feet every so often.

If your activity involves lifting, lift properly, slowly and mindfully! Keep your legs about a shoulder width apart. If the object is awkward or large, it is okay to widen your stance. Also make sure to:

  • Get right in front of what you are lifting. Never lean to the side or twist to lift.
  • Squat by bending the knees and flexing at the hips, pushing your buttocks backwards but keeping your chest up as much as possible.
  • Hold the object you are lifting close to your body. When you set it down, do the same thing in reverse. Never twist or lean to the side to set the item back down.

RELATED: How Poor Posture Can Equate to Lower Back Pain


Gimme’ a Break

Better yet, don’t try to do the entire task in one day. Because we live such busy lives, we have so little time. I often find that patients hurt themselves because they try to fit a large project into their one, free day of the weekend. Whether you can and should take on a large task in one day depends on your fitness level and how easily fatigued you get. So, you may want to just clean the bathrooms one day instead of the whole house! Or just do the front yard work and leave the back for another day instead of taking on your whole yard.


All the Right Moves

Exercises are not just for general fitness – specific ones can be preventive for pain. Since most house and yard work involves repeated bending, it is great to counteract that by taking breaks and doing a few McKenzie press ups if you are able. The video below shows how to do them properly. If you experience back pain during the press up, see if you can only go part way up without pain. You may also find that after one or two press ups, the pain starts to get better.


My Final Thoughts

I’ve found that it can be normal to feel a little sore the next day after doing a lot of house or yard work, similar to when you have had an intense day at the gym. So, a little soreness is no reason to be concerned. What I don’t want for you is joint and muscle injury or inflammation. If you do feel that you have caused something to flare up, use ice rather than heat to treat the painful area, as the issue more than likely involves inflammation. If the pain doesn’t resolve itself in a few days, give us a call, as it could be more serious.

Want more detailed information about yard work safety? Check out the American Chiropractic Association’s page dedicated to this information.

Dr. Sharman


physical therapy

Here are the Three Big Goals When Prescribing Physical Therapy

When you’re in pain, whether due to an injury or recovering from surgery, the last thing you feel like you can take on is physical activity – including physical therapy, which may sound painful. But, that word “therapy” has a healing connotation to it. How could it be bad, then? Well, it isn’t. Most people find that physical therapy is a very impactful way to reduce pain, improve strength, and correct faulty movement patterns. Here at Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we focus on those three main goals in physical therapy.


Getting You Out of Acute Pain and Inflammation

To help push inflammation out of soft tissue, reduce muscle spasms, and ease pain, we use electric stimulation and ultrasound modalities (methods). These therapies are actually quite relaxing. All you need to do is sit or lay down for about 15 minutes while the electrical stimulation is applied on the affected area. We always adjust the level of stimulation to your comfort.

Ultrasound is then used. This includes applying a warm gel on the affected area. Then, a sound head delivers sound waves into the tissue. We often will use a natural pain relieving gel during this therapy, so you get the benefit of both the ultrasound and the pain relieving effect of the gel. This therapy is done in a private room. Patients often comment that they appreciate being able to sit in peace and quiet during their therapy.


[Related: Why Massage for Pain Relief is So Effective]


Stretching and Strengthening Muscles and Soft Tissue 

Learning how to properly stretch your muscles is a very important step in physical therapy. Aphysical therapyt our office, we have a special rehab area where we teach you how to correctly stretch targeted areas. This helps to increase range of motion or relieve pain. Stretching therapy may be taught standing, sitting, or lying on an elevated platform – depending on the area being stretched. We even have what’s known as a “wobble chair.” It takes your spine through helpful ranges of motion to increase spinal flexibility and hydrate the discs of the spine.

Strengthening the supportive muscles of joints is also very important for increasing your stability and range of motion. Typically, this is done with small hand weights, therapeutic resistance bands, or simple body weight.


Functional Training and Correcting Faulty Movements  

Correcting faulty movements is a key ingredient for decreasing risk of injury and improving overall physical performance. This is actually a really fun form of physical therapy. Here, we identify “weak links” in certain types of movement patterns that you may have. Here’s an example:

A highly competitive female basketball player is prone to knee injury. This is because every time she lands from a jump, her knees migrate inward. In our investigation, we find that she has comparatively weak buttock muscles that allow that type of movement of her knees.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete, though, to have faulty movement patterns. Regular people have them just the same. We love figuring them out and helping you correct them!

So, as you can see, physical therapy shouldn’t be intimidating at all. It all towards getting you back to enjoying all the things you like to do. In many cases, it can even be a fun experience. If you’re experiencing pain due to an injury or have a surgery scheduled and will be in need of physical therapy, please give our office a call and let’s set up a consultation appointment.