It’s spring at last and as a nation of DIY-ers, a lot of us are dusting off our ladders, digging out our tool boxes and planning a bit of home improvement.
Whilst a bit of DIY is good news for your home and even your pocket, unfortunately this time of year is also when we see an influx of people with neck and back pain after doing too much! We thought a timely blog on the subject might save a few of you from unnecessary pain.
Just as you’d prepare a room before decorating, a bit of preparation for your body can warm you up and help avoid those strains and aches. But how often do you actually remember to do some exercises before you climb up that ladder and do you know what sort of exercises you should be doing?
General warm up and warm down exercises
Warming up doesn’t have to take long. Do this set of simple stretches before and after you start any DIY, and give yourself a fighting chance of avoiding unnecessary aches and pains:
Knee hugs. Lay on your back and hug your knees towards your chest. Rhythmically hug them towards you and then relax repeatedly.
Rotations. Whilst still on your back, put your feet to the floor keeping your knees bent and drop the knees to the left and right repeatedly.
Do some more knee hugs!
Standing, slide your left hand down your left leg so you are bending to the side, return to neutral and then do the same down the right side. Repeat a few times.
Standing, put your hands on your hips and rotate your hips clockwise for 5 circles, then anti clockwise for 5 circles.
DIY tasks often see us in one position for far too long. Those positions are normally when we’re bent forward (think of laying a laminate floor or painting a skirting board) or arching back (painting a ceiling or lifting and carrying). Too long in one position can lead to overstretch of muscles and joints which can lead to inflammation and pain. To avoid this, there are 2 key principles to follow:
Don’t spend too long in one position. Set a timer on your phone so that every so often (no more than forty minutes) you stop what you’re doing and change position. Whether you go and make a cup of tea or just stand and walk about a bit, it won’t slow you down. But it will keep you comfortable and help you keep going.
Think about whatever you’ve had to do a lot of and, as a stretch, do the opposite! So, bent forward for too long? Then stand and, with hands on hips, gently arch back and then return to neutral. Repeat this a few times as well as doing some hip circling as described earlier. Arched back for too long? Then do some knee hugs.
It’s well worth doing these. They won’t take long and your back will thank you for a bit of aftercare after a long day DIY-ing.
A little extra care after the job’s done
Hydration is important, so as you take the empty mugs back to the kitchen from all the tea you’ve got through during the day, grab a big glass of water, drink it and then get a second.
A quick walk even if it’s ten minutes will pay dividends. It’ll generally loosen everything and throw off the stresses and demands of the day.
Finish the day with a shower or bath. The heat will help ease those tired muscles and let’s face it, you’ve earned it.
Follow the above advice – move to improve – and you’ll be able to take on these seasonal tasks with little or no complaints from your body. If for any reason you do still experience pain or discomfort, then whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. Contact us and we’ll take look at things to see if there’s any underlying reason for it and then help put things right.