Ashtead Chartered Physiotherapy and Osteopathy Service
Thoroughly professional care
My top practical preventative tips
For the garden…
Keep digging to short periods of 20 minutes and find another job which can be dovetailed in, alternating between them so you can avoid overdoing it. Change legs for pushing on the fork.
Weeding can be done kneeling on a pad with one hand on the floor, alternate the supporting hand; train yourself to be a bit ambidextrous.
If you can't kneel because you have had a knee replacement or you find this too painful, avoid it altogether and use a long handled hoe.
If you are pruning try to avoid using loppers at arms length, it strains the shoulder tendons.
When you are mowing the lawn try to avoid whipping the mower round at the ends but go forward and back in small movements to avoid twisting with a large weight.
Don't pull roots, dig well round them. It is very easy to create muscle spasm and joint locking doing this.
When sweeping leaves try to vary the angle of the rake frequently, sometimes pulling from behind and sometimes from the front; also change sides. This will minimise strain on one particular set of muscles and joints.
Beware of leaf blowers and collectors as these are often very heavy in use and the tendency is to hold them out in front which causes great strain on the back. Empty them frequently.
If you are pruning fruit trees make sure someone is holding the ladder but still try not to over reach and take frequent breaks.
Load up your trailer by using repeated trips in a wheelbarrow or dragging the bags rather than lifting them. Try not to overfill bags because many smaller loads are less harmful than one or two bigger ones.
For the house…
If you are thinking of buying a new vacuum cleaner, consider a pull along model. They are less heavy than the upright models and are easier to manouver. Try not to over reach, use the attachments.
When cleaning the bath or shower, get in to a half kneeling position if you can; this is when one knee is down and one foot is flat. This makes your base wider and therefore less strain is on your back as you lean over the bath or shower to clean it.
When you are hanging washing out, put the basket on an outside chair or wall and then you will not have to keep bending down to pick up each item.
In the kitchen think about which items you use most frequently or are heaviest; put them as near waist height as you can, or on the first level of the wall cupboards.
If you are changing your kitchen consider having a waist level oven. If you already have a conventional oven, try to use the half kneeling position (see above) if you can to access the contents.
When moving furniture GET HELP! …but if you are moving something always try to push it rather than pull it.
Coordinate with your helper with a '1,2,3 - move' method.
Always spread your feet to widen your base and lower your centre of gravity.
When using a computer in the home, avoid using a laptop on an ordinary desk unless you have a separate keyboard and mouse and the laptop is in a docking station.
Keep your arm close by your side when using a mouse (rather than too far in front, or rotated sideways). This places strain on the shoulder tendons particularly and can also lead to elbow pain.
If you can touch type, try to have the screen so that your eyes will contact it about 1/3 of the way down. If you can not touch type it is sensible to have it a little lower.
Remember that you spend a third of your life in a bed so a supportive mattress is a must.
Sprung mattresses with memory toppers work well for most people. A wooden base is fine as long as the slats are close enough together.
If you suffer from osteoporosis you may need a softer mattress, you will be uncomfortable on a very hard surface.
Always try to carry loads using a rucksack over both shoulders. Keep the straps properly adjusted; not too long.
If you suddenly find yourself having to carry bags at arms length then very slightly flex your elbows to prevent 'tennis elbow'.
With sport in mind…
Warm up well before you play sport, rehearse the shots first.
Simple stretching after sport, not before, is recommended.
Contact us for a session to show you how to do this properly.
Golf and tennis
If you play golf or tennis try not to over-grip the club or racquet, padding it slightly is often very helpful.