Latest News

May 1

Housework and Gardening – Avoiding Injuries!

Extreme Spring Cleaning Injuries Explained…

Extreme spring cleaning…? What am I on about and why am I writing about it?

Well, it’s that time of year isn’t it?  A bit of nice weather (and it was only a bit) but it’s enough to get us top to toeing the house, chucking stuff out, sorting out the garden and garage and everything in between.  And you know something?  We see more than a few injuries as a result!

Now, just to be clear, I’m not saying that housework and gardening is dangerous and you need to stay firmly ensconced on the settee with a box set of Midsomer Murders or whatever tickles your fancy, I’m just saying be aware of the potential for injury by getting carried away with your spring cleaning efforts.

The factual bit: around 2.7 million adults and kids end up in A&E each year because of accidents in the home. A proportion of those are bods with bad backs, bad knees, pulled muscles after over doing it or repeated lifting or lifting with bad form.

Over-doing it is a sure way to get injured!

Lets have a look at what’s gone wrong…

  • Repeated movement that the body is conditioned for (think digging/shovelling/extreme vacuum cleaning)
  • Staying in one position for too long (think kneeling by the veg/flower bed)
  • Over reaching
  • Heavy lifting that the body is not conditioned for
  • Heavy lifting in bad form (i.e lifting with the back rather than the legs)
  • Poor posture/positioning while working

All of which can lead to…

  • Pulled muscles or strained ligaments or tendons
  • Muscles aches and pains
  • Joint aches and pains, swelling and soreness
  • ‘Slipped disc’ (please excuse the incorrect clinical term which should be either bulging or prolapsed disc) but that feeling when the back ‘goes’. Usually felt in the lower back and becomes difficult to stand straight or move in certain directions.
  • Feeling of being twisted or one sided aches and pains

Most of these are going to be painful and for a few days as well but are not always a case for A&E unless you have an underlying condition or you’re experiencing numbness or pins and needles in any of your limbs or just have real concern for the level of pain.

So what can you do if it’s a Saturday afternoon, we’re not around until Monday morning and your body flipping hurts…?

  • For muscle aches and pains – take a bath with A LOT of Epsom Salts or similar in it. Epsom Salts are a great source of magnesium and the best way to get a big dose of magnesium is via your skin. Magnesium is great for aching muscles as it helps to ease the pain and relax the muscle. Don’t have your bath too hot though.
  • Balms such as Tiger Balm can help with getting heat into the muscles to help ease pain or our favourite is BioFreeze which is made from natural ingredients and despite its name, is fab for producing deep heat in the muscles. Don’t use the balm or gels immediately after your bath otherwise it’ll sting like a swarm of angry wasps. Let your body cool down and your pores close!
  • Regular gentle stretching will help too.
  • Pulled muscles/ strained ligaments or tendons – Follow RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
  • Joint aches and pains – use an anti-inflammatory gel (available from the pharmacy) to help ease the soreness. Try not to do anything too energetic but try and keep the joint in question moving.
  • The really bad back (the ‘slipped disc’ case). It’s going to be painful let’s face facts. If you’re worried, then try the drop in centre or A&E, particularly if your getting pins and needles or numbness in any of your limbs. Otherwise, see your pharmacist and medicate as best you can. If you have a TENS machine, use it (or ask your neighbours, friends, family, the dog, next doors cat, anyone!), If you have a back support and it helps, wear it! If, by Monday the pain is very bad, you may need to see your GP for prescription medication. If you can get in and out of the bath safely, this will help ease muscle pain and would be a good idea to use the good old Epsom Salts too. Try and keep yourself well supported when you sit or lie down to help your muscles and to make getting up easier.
  • Feeling twisted or one sided pain – resort the Epsom salts/ warm bath method to ease muscles, use a muscle balm to keep the sore muscles soothed and gentle stretching will help too.

Stretching and having a short break is a great way to let your body rest

Above all, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t over work ourselves but it’s easier said than done but if you can pace yourself, give yourself regular breaks from a job it would hopefully prevent some injuries but I hope this helps!