Anyone who has been lucky enough to experience vacuuming first hand knows that a good, ultralight
vacuum is a hard-to- find luxury. Spring cleaning, in itself, is just a shoulder injury waiting to happen.
Who has the superhuman strength to remove blinds, clean them, and safely return them to their evil
bracket holsters without breaking a window or rotator cuff? Very few of us. However, there are ways to
protect yourself as you progress through various spring cleaning tasks.
The most important thing to keep in mind with spring cleaning is that if you don’t do something similar
in your every day use of your arm, you are likely not in proper shape to do a one-time heavy project (ie:
my personal nemesis of removing the blinds). Your arms will not have the strength and stability required
for your task, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. The shoulder joint is very complex, and has more range of
motion available than any other joint in the body. That makes our upper extremities very useful, but
also somewhat unprotected. If there is an area of weakness or dysfunction, the dynamics of the entire
joint can be altered and thus predispose a person to injury.
Repetitive scrubbing can also be very irritating to a shoulder. If you find yourself getting sore because
the floor needs just a little more buffing, try to keep your shoulder down and back while using the arm
and this should optimize rotator cuff stability for the task at hand. And if we return to the vacuuming
scenario, optimizing your equipment and mechanics are your best options. If you have a 50 lb. vacuum,
any department store or online retailer would be happy to help you with a new purchase. To optimize
form once you have the required appliance, practice pushing with your legs. The lower body is a great
source of power if you use it. Pushing the vacuum with only your upper body not only put strain on the
shoulder, but eliminates your greatest ‘pushing’ asset, your hips.
Hopefully these tips and tricks help to make your dauting chores just a little easier. If you have shoulder
pain prior to starting spring cleaning, contact us at Edge PT, or contact your physician to prevent
worsening of symptoms.
*photo cred Pinterest