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swimmingpaul

Back problems ?

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swimmingpaul

Hi everyone, 

How do you all find window cleaning affects your back ? I am a plasterer at present but need to really consider a career change as 

I keep losing long periods of time off work with sciatica / herniated disc, I’ve been thinking about window cleaning for some time and 

I’ve been on this forum a few months just browsing and it’s got my interest , And as I’m currently off work again I’ve decided to up my efforts to make a change ! 
Amongst plasterers bad backs are very common so of course I should ask how it is window cleaning ?..

Any experiences / advice would be greatly recieved  . Cheers . 

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AGlassAct

A similar post is running alongside this one regarding pain. But generally the high risk areas are back, shoulders and neck. As it’s different muscle groups to plastering it would take a while to adjust but as long as you look after yourself (strengthening exercises on the main problem areas) you’ll be fine. I’ve struggled with my hands recently and have started to get RSI in my thumb - again you’ll be used to this being a plasterer!!

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Part Timer

Technique is very important in window cleaning. The majority tend to stand to close to the windows and just use arms and shoulders to move the pole. Stand further back, buy a bigger pole and walk in and out to save getting shoulder, neck and back problems. Takes a couple more minutes to do a house but will save a lot of wear and tear and future problems 

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Iron Giant

I would have thought both jobs in some way are on par in terms of physicality depending on ones set up, also in terms of injury, I had never had muscle strains and joint issues until I was wfp these have been in the last few years or so after been wfp for 6-7 years, I would guess for yourself it maybe like the roll of a dice.

If you got a decent set up with everything bolted in the back of the van, you would eliminate any lifting which may well help, a lad I know runs a very successful carpet and upholstery cleaning business, but 2-3 years ago he was almost at the point of jacking in his business due to back problems which are never going to improve, the lifting of equipment is no good for him at all, he decided to take a leap of faith and employ someone to unload and load the van etc, they both get on really well with each other and his business has gone from strength to strength

 

Edited by Iron Giant
grammar

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tench0771

Go trad if u want a change as wfp wont do any favers small astra van with a back pack for odd window above roofs ect trad is more friendly on your body 

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Clearview Lee

I remember when I started out a few old-skool windies had shoulder arthritis from have a damp scrim over their shoulder every day.  
so I avoided that business early doors!!

 

I will say I’ve had tennis elbow in both arms recently. One much worse than the other, but after a month, is much better now. 
 

I also have a strange sensation in my lower left arm which is hard to explain. Like a cold wave sensation that I think is from holding the pole ‘rinsing off’ the window. 
 

no majors thou. 
 

Go for it, I say!! Just be aware that’s all. Awareness is the way! 😇

 

good post!

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harunh

If u got back problems then i suggest u get cupping done, it will sort your back out also get a regular massage and get in the gym to look after it :)

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swimmingpaul

Thanks for your replies and advice, ive had an MRI scan and ive got 2 slipped discs and some facet joint arthritis so need to reduce the amount of labour i'm doing , i can have injections or even an operation to help the issue but i think if i continue plastering the problems will just come back. Sounds like some trad and a decent set up for wfp would be the best option  and maybe yoga/pilates !! 

Thanks again to everyone for the help.👍

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windowsurfer

I personally wouldnt say window cleaning is any easier on the body,just probably a bit different. Going trad, might give u dodgy knees n more strain on your already sore back,not the best place to be.  

 

Try n get decent physio n see if it helps. By all means try window cleaning,but imo the grass isnt greener n you have to work outside in damp conditions. 

 

I have neck/ shoulder/ back issues from other jobs n this job. 

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Davy G

I think a lot of back problems are caused or aggrevated by compression, some unavoidable but some by less than ideal techniques. I've had short term issues in the past, but very rarely and up to now always very short lasting.

 

I believe in doing mental rehearsal and visualisation in advance of physically challenging activities, to prepare and try to reduce the risks of injury and wear and tear.

 

A difficult one with plastering as I don't expect there's any way of making it less physical. I'm sure there must be a lot of strain involved, a board full of heavy, wet plaster having to be held in one hand and a trowel in the other to apply and then work in and finish, often overhead.

 

I would think that in comparison to plastering, wfp window cleaning with the right equipment and technique would be light exercise.

 

A lot of wfp people make hard work for themselves by overworking it : too many inefficient short strokes, too much going back up to what's already been done. Too much unnecessary pressure on the brush. A lot of unnecessary wear and tear on body and equipment. Lightly does it, I believe. I only use pressure if I'm trying to remove bird muck, spider poo and other stuff that needs it, Normally I just let the bristles do the work with the lightest of pressure.

 

Being a plasterer you'll be as strong as a horse and you will be well used to working efficiently.

 

It might well be a good move for you.

 

By the way :I'm sixty three years of age. I'm not a big or well built man though I am fit. I work about seven hours a day without stopping for lunch. I can paddle a sea kayak for six hours with a couple of brew stops.

 

I worked on utilities for twenty years. Often on shovel, jackhammer or whacker-plate for hours on end. I always worked with sound techniques and I believe that's the reason I'm able to work and play like I do. Though when I'm resting I can do nothing with real gusto. 😁

 

🙂

 

Edited by Davy G

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swimmingpaul

cheers again everyone this is helpful info, Davy G compression is definitely the cause of my problem and totally agree with your comments on technique , i imagine window cleaning will  be similar to plastering in that sense ! 

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Davy G
5 minutes ago, swimmingpaul said:

cheers again everyone this is helpful info, Davy G compression is definitely the cause of my problem and totally agree with your comments on technique , i imagine window cleaning will  be similar to plastering in that sense ! 

It will be similar in some ways I'm sure. But if you get the lighter equipment and develop an excellent technique I don't believe it will be anything close to as hard on your body as plastering.

 

I use an SLX 22 foot pole with swivel, extreme Sill Brush and 100 degree fan jets, I rinse on the glass which saves a lot of effort. The outfit is sweet. You can get even lighter gear. I haven't yet as I know it's less robust. 22ft suits nearly all my work but depending on the size of houses you would expect to be working on you may possibly need more length. I wouldn't go longer than 22 ft unless absolutely necessary.

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swimmingpaul

Davy G, I  you've almost answered my next question lol, what equipment to use ! . thanks again 

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Davy G
2 minutes ago, swimmingpaul said:

Davy G, I  you've almost answered my next question lol, what equipment to use ! . thanks again 

Only been at it five and a half years myself. But studied my craft well. 😁

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Den

I have suffered with a bad back all my life and have arthritis in my knees and hands, I’m only 51 so only a Boy compared too @Davy G lol 

 

best thing to to do is research the equipment on gardinerpolesystems.co.uk either ask them or on this forum any questions your not sure about.

 

the slx pole DavyG mentions is a good starting point and that is the exact pole I used to use 👍 I have now gone one step further and only use extreme poles and extreme brushes apart from first cleans I use ultimate brush. 

 

The reason on me using the extreme poles and brushes is to future proof myself so I cause minimal wear on my body and carry on for as long as I my body allows. 

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