5 min read. Written by Shirouz Elango
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, many of us would be busy preparing for celebrations and feasting. One of the most common traditions is the annual spring cleaning, where families get together to declutter their houses and usher in a new start.
In the excitement of the spirit of tradition, some of us might end up injuring ourselves from all the preparations, putting a damper on the festivities. Here are our tips and recommendations on how you can avoid common aches and pains while spring cleaning this Chinese New Year.
How Can I Encounter Pain While Spring Cleaning?
Avoiding pain while spring cleaning starts with understanding the areas of risk. It may be surprising for some that a seemingly innocent task such as spring cleaning can be hazardous. However, many often underestimate the physical strain it involves—from lifting heavy items, moving furniture around, climbing up and down ladders, and reaching down into far corners.
Considering that spring cleaning for Chinese New Year happens once a year—and is often tackled at one go—many of us may be overexerting our bodies’ capabilities by engaging in activities that are in contrast to our usual level of activity. Some common aches and pains while spring cleaning includes:
- Shoulder Pain: Spending prolonged periods of time overreaching or overusing one arm can strain the shoulders
- Back Pain: Improper form or poor postures may strain the back muscles and exert unwanted pressure on our spine
- Neck Pain: Looking up for too long, or hunching over for a long period of time may result in an irritation of the neck muscles
- Wrist/Elbow Pain: Activities that require heavy gripping, forceful twisting, or excessive pulling can result in wrist or elbow strains
3 Tips to Avoid Pain While Spring Cleaning
Here are our physiotherapists’ recommendations to easily avoid pain while spring cleaning:
Plan Out Your Tasks
Going into it all at once can take a heavy physical toll. Avoid pain while spring cleaning by breaking up your tasks over a course of time. Planning out your schedule may also help you determine the number of hours, manpower, tools, or additional resources you need to tackle the work ahead of you. This can help greatly in reducing chances of overuse and fatigue, making it more manageable for yourself.
Listen to Your Body
In a bid to complete spring cleaning in time for Chinese New Year, we may force our body to go beyond its physical limits. This puts you at a higher risk for injuries! Remember that it is okay to take breaks, especially if you’re feeling signs of strain. Stopping for just a few minutes can be the difference in avoiding pain while spring cleaning.
Additionally, if you are aware that you have been physically inactive leading up to the extensive cleaning needed in the coming weeks, starting slow and pacing is essential. We do not want to push and strain ourselves before the festivities!
Mind Your Posture
The posture or positions we do our tasks in plays a role in the stresses placed on our bodies. Minding your posture while doing tasks such as lifting tables and boxes or bending down to mop will allow you to perform them well, minimizing any unwanted or overuse stresses on your body. For example, if you’re carrying heavy items, be conscious about squatting and lifting from your legs, instead of bending over and risk straining your back.
Help! I’m Experiencing Some Aches and Pain After Spring Cleaning!
If you’re experiencing pain while spring cleaning, our recommendation is to take a break and carry out some of these relief measures to help ease the pain:
This is a simple method to provide temporary pain relief—using heat packs or hot compress for stiff, tender or swollen joints, and cold compress for sprains and swelling. Both can be useful to help with the pain and discomfort. If you would like to find out more about when hot and cold therapy is best applicable, do reach out to us for a free tele-consult.
Stretching & Myofascial Release
Moving may be the last thing you may want to do after overworking your muscles, but sometimes, it can be the remedy. For mild pains while spring cleaning, doing some simple stretching can grant some much-needed relief. For example, gentle yoga stretches such as Child’s Pose can help to target pains in the lower back and hips.
If you’ve got a massage ball, or a tennis ball, you can also make use of it to release muscle tension. For instance, you can prop the ball between your neck and the wall and use your body weight to roll against the area of pain. This, like a foam roller, can help to provide some relief.
Strengthening with Exercise
Once the pain has been managed, it’s important to work on strengthening our bodies through exercise. Engaging in regular cardio, stretching and strength training can increase our body’s flexibility and strengthen our muscles. This will make it easy for us to cope with new demands in everyday life, reduce chances of future injuries, and perhaps prepare you for the next Chinese New Year Spring cleaning!
If you are experiencing severe pain from spring cleaning or other activities and do not see any improvement in your condition, do make an appointment to see a physiotherapist for further assessment. We can help with the pain and get you stronger!
Last Reviewed by Jaden Lim on 13/02/2022