Spring is here, even if it doesn’t always feel like it in the Twin Cities. Soon we’ll be going for outdoor runs, planting gardens and doing some good old fashioned spring cleaning. However, if you’re not careful, spring cleaning can take a heavy toll on your spine. Below, we share some tips for making sure your spine stays injury-free during and after spring cleaning.
Spring Cleaning and Your Spine
Here are four ways you can protect your spine when you’re weeding the garden or cleaning out the gutters this spring.
1. Stretching – Stretching is an important part of protecting your spine. Aside from helping get oxygenated blood to your spine, it also helps you muscles gently shift from a restful to an active state. If you don’t give your body time to warm up before activity, you will be more prone to spinal muscle strains or tears. Give yourself five minutes to stretch before climbing up that ladder or getting on your hands and knees.
2. Hydrate – Spring isn’t all that warm, but you still lose a lot of fluid during physical activity, and since it’s not as hot, you’re not as likely to realize you need to replenish your fluids. If you’re dehydrated, you’re prone to muscle injuries, and your spine isn’t getting the oxygenated blood that it needs. Bring a water bottle outside with you while you’re working to make it easy to stay hydrated.
3. Proper Posture and Techniques – Another reason that people suffer spine injuries is because they don’t have good posture or they use poor movement techniques. When you’re planting the garden or maintaining your lawn, you’re probably going to be bending, twisting and lifting equipment. Be sure to bend at the knees, not at the spine. Also, if you are really working hard, be sure to take some breaks to give your spine a well needed rest. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so your spring cleaning list doesn’t need to be completed in a day either.
4. Height Safety – If you’re cleaning out the gutters or adding a fresh coat of paint to the second story window shutters, be sure to follow good height safety measures. Make sure the ladder is stabilized before climbing, or better yet, have someone below to hold it so it doesn’t shift. If working from a great height, use a safety harness. Fall injuries contribute to hundreds of thousands of spine injuries each year, and these range in severity from vertebral fractures to serious spinal cord injuries. Be safe when working from heights this spring!
For more tips on how to keep your spine healthy this spring, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Chang, reach out to his office by clicking here or by calling (651) 430-3800.