5 Ways Custodians & Cleaning Staff Can Prevent Spine Injuries

Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 17, 2017

Janitor Back Pain

Cleaning crews work behind the scenes to make our offices, schools and hotels spotless, and all that physical labor can wreck havoc on their spines. So if you work in the cleaning industry, or you just want to make sure your house gets a passing grade the next time your in-laws visit, check out these tips for keeping your back healthy while you clean.


Proper Lifting Form

Odds are you’re going to need to lift some objects in order to clean underneath or around them, so be sure that you’re practicing proper lifting techniques each and every time. Bend with your knees and not with your back, otherwise you may be putting your spine in jeopardy.

Tandem Lifts

If you need to clean under a teacher’s desk or the dining room table, don’t try to lift the heavy piece of furniture by yourself. Ask a coworker or family member to assist with the lift, and feel free to set it down and regroup if you need to move it a long distance.

Posture Care When Cleaning

Many people tend to lean forward and look down when they are cleaning, mainly because to object being cleaned is in front of them and around waist height. This can cause you to tilt forward and have your neck out in front of your body, which places abnormal strain on your cervical spine. You’ve probably felt this stress when you’re doing dishes or sweeping. Try to limit your forward lean and keep your head directly above your shoulders as much as possible when working below eye level.

Spine Saving Devices

If you’re regularly moving heavy equipment while cleaning, consider investing in a back brace that can help shift your spine into the right position and provide support while lifting. Another device to consider is the orthotic shoe insert. A little bit of padding can go a long way in taking some stress off your spine.

Space Out Spine Stressing Activities

If you have a long day of cleaning ahead of you, try to space out some of the more spine-stressing activities. Mix in some activities you can do while seated, like folding towels or wiping down furniture. If spine pain begins to develop, take a short break, otherwise you’re only going to make the issue worse.

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