Back Pain Tips

Lockdown may be responsible for back pain flaring for many of our patients.  Dirkie Coomans shares some tips below on how to manage this yourself and prevent it from causing more distress.


Cleaning your house, doing laundry, dishes and let’s not forget about the men in the garden, can be a pain in the butt but it can also be a literal pain in the back and neck! During these unprecedented times I decided to give a few tips on how to protect your back and neck during lockdown and still have a neat home and garden. Unfortunately, none of these tips involve “DON’T DO IT” – sorry!

Tip 1: How to avoid pain during sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, raking, and shoveling.

While it may not look like hard work, these chores are the main reason behind back pain flare ups. The reason for it this is that all five of these activities include repeated movements that require you to bend at the waist.

To avoid the pain and strain on your muscles:

  • Keep your shoulders and hips moving in the same direction of work
  • Use one foot stepping forward and slightly bend your knee (half a lunge) – this will help to keep your upper body straight
  • Avoid twisting backwards
  • Avoid bending at your waist

Invest in good quality brooms, vacuums, mops and garden equipment.  The items:

  • should be light
  • easy to grip
  • have an adjustable height where possible

Tip 2: How to avoid pain during dishwashing

Since lockdown has forced us to make every single meal (that is perhaps the only fun thing that we could do), you would agree with me that the sink is just empty and the kitchen cleaned, before the next meal is even about to start. It’s a never-ending story!

To avoid back pain while doing endless dishes:

  • Stand up straight
  • Put your one foot on the bottom of the opened cabinet – will help to squat and keep you straight
  • This may seem awkward, but you will avoid back and neck pain and get a little toning in for the behind.
  • A padded floor mat underneath the sink will help cushion your feet
  • A dishwasher is a good investment

 Tip 3: How to avoid pain while doing laundry and picking up toys

While washing doesn’t seem like hard work, the hanging up and taking down does take its toll on your back and neck. Picking up after the kids is also an endless reality.  The pain from laundry and picking up is stimulated by the same repeated constant bending motion.

  • Try to keep your back as straight as possible
  • Reach for your clothes using your right hand and balance your body by lifting the left leg into the air
  • You can put your left hand on a surface that’s nearby. If you end up reaching with the left hand, simply reverse directions. This will help to reduce the strain on the back muscles.
  • Instead of bending down over and over again to pick up kids’ toys, try crawling on the ground while picking them up to avoid the repetitive bending motion.

Lockdown has a few fun elements but cleaning the house isn’t fun, but someone has to do it. Keep these tips in mind.

If not, come see us!  We’ll gladly assist in alleviating that pain.

Dirkie Coomans.


Allison Blair

All stories by: Allison Blair