Bending over beds, heaving a vacuum cleaner around, dusting in corners and standing cooking in the kitchen are all ingredients that add up to a recipe for increased risk of back strain and other muscle pain.

It’s easy to mistreat your body as you give the carpet a clean -twisting from the waist to get the vacuum cleaner into position can harm the back and strain the arms. Keep the handle close to your body and use the machine’s wheels to move it around.

Beds are usually designed for the benefit of the sleeper, not the one who has to change the sheets. To make changing bed linen safer, don’t lean over to the other side to tuck sheets in, but go round to do it. Similarly, pictures are designed to be looked at, not cleaned; floors to be trodden on, not bent down to for cleaning. But a long-handled duster and brooms used with an upright back, with the handle held close to the body, will help you avoid strains.

The height of work surfaces such as ironing-boards and kitchen units is also important to avoid uncomfortable bending. The most efficient height is usually 2-4 inches below elbow height. In fact, ironing is often best done sitting down, with the chair close to the board.


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