How to Do Housechores Pain-Free?

Blog, / By Winsen Citra

Chinese New Year is coming. And we all know that means we need to give the house a good old clean. Doing these housechores is troublesome enough, it would be worse if you have to do them in pain becaus the very same housechores have caused you to have repetitive strain injuries (RSI). How do we avoid them?

What is Repetitive Strain Injury?

RSIs are injuries that is sustained by doing repetitive movements over and over again. It can also come from doing high intensity activities without rest, or doing activities in poor posture.

Examples of RSI include:

  • tendonitis
  • fasciitis
  • carpal tunnel symdrome
  • thoracic outlet syndrome
  • and many others

What Housechores Cause RSI?

In recent years, RSIs tend to be associated with computer work or using your phone too much. That is to be expected given the changing nature of our activity patterns. However, a large number of people suffering from RSI are women in their 50s who get injured from doing their housechores.

Housechores that can cause RSI:

  • Wringing mops or cloths
  • Wiping surfaces that is hard to reach (usually overhead)
  • Washing clothes by hand
  • Moving boxes
  • Hanging clothes
  • Carrying children

How Do I Know if I have RSI?

RSI, as the name suggest, develop after doing actions repetitively. Therefore, you will not feel sudden pain or have a single activity triggering your condition. It usually starts gradually with some kind of stiffness and tightness, which, over time,  develop into more severe pain and can include other symptoms such as tingling, weakness, or a burning sensation.

If you think that you’re suffering from RSI, do get yourself diagnosed by a healthcare professional. If you ignore the symptoms, it may develop into more severe conditions such as tendon rupture or nerve damage.

How Can I Do Housechores Safely?

You will still need to lift boxes, clean hard to reach places, or wash your clothes. Since they’re unavoidable the best thing to do is to do some activity modification. How can we do that?

Here are some general rules:

  • Use both hands to carry things
  • Bend your knees and not your back when picking something up
  • If you’re doing something overhead, use a stool or ladder to raise yourself up so that you dont have to reach overhead
  • Do smaller movements when cleaning
  • Use tools such as self wringing mops and the like to make things easier for yourself

You can always ask for advice from a physiotherapist who can suggest to you ways to modify your activity.

As usual, we hope that this article has been useful for you. We hope that you can proceed with your spring cleaning in a safe manner. Contact us if you need any advice and dont forget to follow us on Instagram.

Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen is graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.