Housework Hacks With Ankylosing Spondylitis
Last updated: January 2023
One of the things I really dislike when I’m in an AxSpa flare is how messy my house can get.
I’m definitely one of those “tidy house, tidy mind” people and it always feels like a form of torture when I’m surrounded by mess I don’t have the ability to clean up!
Even on a good day it’s easy to cause unnecessary pain by doing too much or forgetting to pace myself when it comes to housework.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve implemented over the years that really do make housework easier for those of us with AxSpa. I hope they might be helpful to you too.
Cleaning the shower and bath is one of the easiest ways to strain your back if you’re not careful. All that bending over is not ideal, but how else do get the shower base gleaming?
I’ve taken to using a long-handled, soft-bristle broom to clean my bathroom. I wet the shower and bath first, squirt on some cleaner and then scrub using the broom. The handle is long enough for me to easily reach everywhere without having to bend over or squat down, which is so much easier on my lower back. I leave the suds on for a few minutes then rinse them off and it’s all done. The broom goes out into the sun to dry and the worst part of the bathroom is over.
Scrubbing toilets is also difficult with a sore back. I’ve taken to buying denture-cleaning tablets and leave a couple of these in the toilet bowl for a few hours. They dissolve and do a great job of leaving everything sparkling clean without me having to bend over with the brush.
I have a combination of hardwood floors and carpet, both of which I would usually vacuum. This was always guaranteed to leave my back sore, so I eventually saved up and bought myself a robot vacuum cleaner.
This has proved to be such a life-saving device for me! Not only does it get the floors looking great, it can get underneath sofas and beds to clean surfaces I haven’t been able to reach for years.
Hanging laundry out to dry
There are two things I’ve learned to do differently when it comes to washing clothes.
The first hack is putting a stool under the clothesline so that I don’t have to bend and straighten to pick up each item I’m hanging. Instead of placing it on the ground beneath the clothesline, I now have the basket of wet washing in easy reach on top of the stool. So much easier!
The second tactic I use is to make two trips from the washing machine to the clothesline instead of one. Wet washing is heavy, and I learned this the hard way by adding a bulging disc to my existing back issues when I lifted a fully loaded basket. By halving the load and doing an extra trip it’s all so much more manageable.
Here are a few other helpful pointers to keep in mind when you’re working around the house:
- Pace yourself and conserve energy by breaking up tasks over the week (don’t try and clean the whole house in one day).
- When lifting, break up larger loads into smaller ones wherever you can (there are no prizes for bringing all the groceries inside in one trip!). Don’t twist your body as you lift something and make sure to hold the item close to your body.
- If standing at the kitchen sink or bench when cooking or cleaning be sure to stop for regular breaks to stretch, sit down or take a short walk.
- Ask for help! If you can afford it, pay for a cleaner. Even getting some help for a few hours once a month can take the pressure off and is money well spent.
Have you found any hacks of your own? I'd love to know your tips too!
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?