spring cleaning

When Spring Cleaning Results in Pain

As the weather gets milder and the days are longer, many of us are spurred on to really “clean house,” i.e. rid ourselves of items we haven’t used in years, wash surfaces under and above our usual range of vision, and put everything in order, basements, attics, and garages included.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, every spring a number of patients come to us with aches, pains, and more serious musculoskeletal injuries incurred during this bout of well-intended overexertion. Fortunately, our physiatrists, whose specialty is pain relief and nonsurgical restoration of mobility, are here to help.

Spring Cleaning Tasks That Can Result in Injuries

Part of the problem with spring cleaning is that few people prepare for the sudden jolt of physical activity. People who are well-equipped to do laundry, dust, and vacuum regularly can easily strain their bodies by lifting heavy exercise equipment, pieces of furniture, cartons of books, bags of peat moss, or rusted bicycles. In many cases, such items do not only have to be lifted but carried up or down stairs.

Apart from heavy lifting, spring cleaning frequently involves other tasks that risk injury, including:

  • Persistent bending to clear smaller objects off the floor
  • Prolonged kneeling to scrub floors or bathtubs
  • Turning heavy mattresses
  • Reaching for pots, dishes, knickknacks, and small appliances from high shelves
  • Reaching to take down curtains or paintings or to replace lightbulbs
  • Balancing precariously on stools or stepladders, risking a possible fall

Although most of us realize that older people should be especially careful during spring cleaning because of pre-existing conditions like altered visual acuity, arthritis, and osteoporosis, many of the patients who arrive at our door in pain consider themselves much too young to worry about injury during spring cleaning. Of course, the reality is that overexertion can cause injuries to those of any age or fitness level.

Common Spring Cleaning Injuries

Even those who try to pace themselves during spring cleaning can have accidents. Our professionals treat many patients who have hurt themselves sprucing up their homes. Among the most common spring cleaning injuries are:

  • Strains and sprains of various muscles
  • Stress fractures of the spine
  • Bursitis of the shoulder, elbow, hip, etc.
  • Meniscal tears
  • Tears in tendons and ligaments
  • Fractured bones, usually limbs or digits
  • Back injuries, e.g. disc herniation, pinched nerves, sciatica
  • Dislocations of the ball and socket joints (hips or shoulders) or labral tears
  • Knotted muscles (myofascial trigger points)

Some patients come to us with symptoms of a traumatic injury — sudden, sharp pain and limited range of motion; others come with unexplained aching, numbness, tingling, or weakness. In either case, we pride ourselves on being accurate diagnosticians as well as holistic healers. This is essential in our profession since a correct diagnosis leads us to the proper nonsurgical treatment method.

Treatments That Work in Any Season

Once we have discovered the underlying cause of your symptoms, we will treat you with one or more of the following nonsurgical methods:

  • Physical therapy specifically designed to address your issues
  • Acupuncture to control pain and inflammation and promote healing
  • Ultrasound-guided injections of corticosteroids and analgesics
  • Gel injections to lubricate a painful knee joint with hyaluronic acid
  • Epidural corticosteroid injections for back pain
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) to accelerate healing
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy to reduce inflammation and promote healing

We find that using therapies in combination often provides pain relief and increased mobility more quickly than one therapy alone. We will discuss your options and be responsive to your personal preferences.

The vast majority of spring cleaning injuries will heal without surgical intervention. If an operation is required, we will refer you to a well-respected surgical colleague and be on board to assist you in a speedy recovery.

Contact Our Experienced Physiatrists for Efficient Healing

If you have overdone your spring cleaning, get in touch with Long Island Spine Rehabilitation at any one of our five Nassau and Suffolk offices. You will find our doctors as compassionate as they are capable and ready to provide you with the personal attention you deserve.