The change in seasons is a good time to evaluate your fall chore to do list. Though household chores are not usually fun for anyone, they can be especially difficult for those suffering from arthritis pain. Cleaning can be hard on your joints as it requires bending, reaching and grabbing.
Changing cleaning methods can make tasks less painful on your body. With proper planning you can stay on top of your arthritis management strategy by setting realistic expectations. You don’t have to complete everything on your to do list in one day.
Here are a few other tips from Andrew Braziel, MD, on how to better manage your joint pain and reduce arthritis symptoms while keeping a clean house and yard.
Conducting your everyday household chores is a good way to stay active and to manage symptoms of arthritis. Exercise is beneficial to people who suffer from arthritis because physical activity can help to reduce pain and improve function and quality of life. Outdoor tasks including raking and tidying up your yard are activities that can help incorporate movement into your daily routine.
Choose Appropriate Tools and Plan Ahead
To help minimize the effort and time you spend on your chores, plan ahead. Store cleaning items in multiple locations and obtain proper equipment. In a home with two floors, you could store supplies on each floor to reduce the number of times you have to go up and down stairs. This could help to ease strain on your knees and joints.
While doing yard work such as raking leaves, look for a rake with a long handle. Tools with long handles help to alleviate pain in your back or hips. When used, they allow you to stay in a neutral position rather than to continuously bend over. Find equipment with thick handles, these tools often have better grips and are made with a lighter material.
For indoor chores such as sweeping or mopping, tools with longer handle can help as arthritic symptoms won’t be aggregated by reaching or bending. Consider using lighter equipment that could be easier to move around such as an electric broom instead of a heavy vacuum cleaner.
Don’t Overdo It and Be Sensible About the Way You Move
Know your limitations. Whether you’re raking the yard or scrubbing the inside of your house, to avoid hurting your joints use proper body movements and only do as much as you can handle.
While doing yard work consider trying a portable bench or stool that you can sit on and use if you need to take a break. This will help to avoid strain on your back, hips, or knees.
When doing chores such as washing dishes you may be standing in one position for a long period of time. Try using a stool to help you stay in a neutral position by putting one foot on it. Proper posture helps protect your joints by ensuring that muscles are correctly used and that bones and joints are well aligned.
When carrying loads of laundry or bags full of leaves, to protect your back bend at your knees and only pick up what you can handle. Ask for help if you need it. For any kneeling you may need to do, such as scrubbing a tub, try using knee pads. These can aid in preventing joint pain.
You can achieve a leafless yard and the satisfaction of a clean house by being smart and paying attention to your body. Talk to a healthcare professional about ways you can minimize your arthritis pain and still cross items off your list.