Physical Therapy

Power Washing Like a Pro

By July 23, 2019 No Comments

Summer is finally here! Which means it is time to get outside and enjoy the sunny days. For you that may mean heading to the river, traveling across the mountains, or hopping on an airplane. If you are like me, that means heading to the back yard. Our family enjoys lounging around in hammocks and cooking on the Traeger.

Before you can enjoy that awesome yard you need to get it looking good. Which, in the Pacific Northwest, means you need to power wash. Here are the top tips to keep in mind to keep your back, neck, and hands pain free while sprucing up the house and yard.

  1. Stand up straight – Keep your spine aligned while you are chasing after that dirt. Usually people start off with really good posture and great alignment in their spine. It is over time when people are most likely to lose that good control. You may notice yourself bending over to get the wand closer to the dirt. Or you may notice that your back is getting fatigued which is causing you to bend over. Either way, maintaining good alignment with you head over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, and your hips over your knees will decrease your risk of low back and neck pain when you are done.
  2. Take breaks every 30 minutes – Power washing involves holding your body in a very specific position and taking small steps to move the wand. Your entire torso stays in basically the same position for the entire time you are power washing. You need to take a 2 minute break every 30 minutes to allow your body a break from that position. During the break you can do some different movements including gentle arm circles, roll your shoulders out, bend your spine forward, and mini squats to get your body moving in a different direction.
  3. Stay hydrated – When your muscles are working hard to stabilize your body and control the wand while power washing they need proper nutrition to keep up the good work. Water is what delivers the nutrition to the muscles. Keep a water bottle close at hand for those break times so you can stay hydrated and avoid muscle cramping.
  4. Take care of your hands – Holding the trigger on the wand down for even 30 minutes at a time can be challenging to our hands, as they aren’t used to working in that way. Add on top of that keeping the wand pointed at the location you want and you have got some hard working hands/arms. Take good care of your hands by giving the regular rest breaks every 30 minutes. Get them moving by making a fist and then spreading out your fingers as far as possible. Another tool that can help is what our family calls the “power washing rumba”. Seen on the right hand side of the picture above, this device at the bottom of the wand helps to focus the water to clean flat surfaces. It makes cleaning the pavement much quicker which decreases the time needed to power wash.
  5. Get moving – Once you are done with power washing make sure you get your body moving. Take a walk around the house or better yet around the block. Get those arms swinging, those shoulders moving, and the hips stretching. Your body will appreciate the movement as it helps the water pump nutrition to the muscles and joints. Moving after power washing will also help to decrease soreness you may experience the next day. The movement does not have to be aggressive but it does need to encompass the entire body. So, grab your power washing pal and take a lap around the neighborhood.

If you find yourself waking up the next day very sore from power washing keep the above tips in mind. Make sure you drink plenty of water, stretch throughout the day, and do some cardiovascular exercise like walking or running. Soreness after an intense workout (which power washing is) is normal. However, if that soreness turns into pain or lasts more than 48 hours it’s time to get some help — before the pain becomes an issue that lingers around for months. Lingering pain can lead to abnormal movement patterns and decreased activity level. If you find yourself with soreness that lasts longer than 48 hours or pain after power washing feel free to give us a call. We can help get your body moving correctly which not only eliminates pain but prepares you for all of your summer activities.

Happy power washing and happy summer!

Dr. Amy

Author Dr. Amy

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