Top 5 tips to protect aggravating your shoulder doing housework
If you have shoulder pain, or have had it in the past, you would know that jobs around the house can really aggravate pain.
Simple jobs such as cleaning and putting away dishes, hanging your washing on the line and sweeping the floor can be very painful, and this pain can often last for hours or even days after you have finished.
When the shoulder is painful, or there is muscle weakness or structures injured around the shoulder, this can cause impingement, leading to pain and potentially inflammation.
We have a few handy tips that you can try at home to stop this aggravation in your shoulder when doing your house work.
Hang your clothes as low as possible
Using a clothing airer or drying rack that is on the ground means that you don’t have to reach above your shoulder height.
From our patients we know that this is a very common way pain and soreness in the shoulder is aggravated.
Move things from high cupboards to below shoulder height
Have your frequently used cups, cutlery and plates, and all other items that you use daily in a cupboard or spot where you don’t have to reach up.
Do your jobs in small batches
Breaking up your jobs into smaller batches can really help.
You may have experienced that doing too much can overload and cause irritation and further injury, and this can happen with any part of the body.
Doing 10 to 15 minutes of work with a 5 to 10-minute break may work for you. Or you could split your work – take down the washing in the morning and then fold it in the afternoon.
Doing some gentle exercises before and after your house work may be useful too.
Pendular exercises, along with gentle and pain free range of motion can be useful to keep the muscles loose. Quite often they can act as a way to reduce tightness and pain, refreshing and flushing the joint.
These should be done within a pain free range.
Some examples of this are shown below:
- Active range of motion:
Think about your posture – try not to hunch and hold tension in the muscles at the base of your neck.
We know that holding our neck and front shoulder muscles tight and hunching through the mid back can increase the impingement in the shoulder.
Thinking about opening your chest, relaxing the muscles on top of the shoulders and keeping tight in the muscles between the shoulder blades can improve the way that the shoulder blade and shoulder itself moves.
Written by myPhysioSA Physiotherapist Lucy Mayo who consults out of our Mount Barker Physio Clinic.