Living with Chronic Pain

Additional Tips for Cleaning with Chronic Pain


Cleaning a home can be strenuous and tiring, especially when dealing with chronic pain. Fortunately, there are several cleaning tips that make this household chore easier, while lessening its effect on pain and fatigue.

  • Declutter the home. Excessive items in the home result in extra time spent cleaning. Keep things that are useful or meaningful, and donate items not needed. Decluttering should be completed in small steps.
  • Stretch before cleaning. Stretching prior to cleaning prepares the body for the task. It increases muscle flexibility, reduces the risk of nerve irritation, and improves balance.
  • Split rooms or areas into sections. Instead of tackling a whole room or area at once, split them into smaller sections. For example, divide the kitchen into countertops, sink, appliances, and floor. Split the shower into sections, such as the handles and showerhead, walls, shower curtain, and floor. This allows an individual to focus on one specific area and evaluate whether a break is needed between sections.
  • Be careful with movements. Cleaning can require repetitive movements and uncomfortable postures that contribute to pain. While cleaning, use care to avoid standing for long periods, repetitive bending and twisting, slouching, and hyperextending.
  • Alternate between sitting and standing. Standing for long periods can cause pain and fatigue, while prolonged sitting can cause stiffness. The best solution is to alternate between sitting and standing. For example, sitting on a stool to wash dishes can be followed by standing to clean the counters. Standing to do laundry can be followed by sitting to fold clothes.
  • Listen to upbeat music. Music can be energizing and motivating while cleaning. It can make the process much more enjoyable and can also be used as a timer to remember to take breaks.
  • Rest after cleaning. Once cleaning is complete for the day, it is important to rest. This helps the body recover and promotes well-being.
  • Ask for help or avoid cleaning. It may be necessary to ask a family member or friend to help with cleaning, or to consider hiring a cleaning service. Individuals should know their limitations and be willing to get assistance when needed. Cleaning should be avoided following surgery, when disc herniation is present, with pain that radiates into the arms or legs, and if balance issues or dizziness are present.
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