DIY Injuries

Home renos can be fun and rewarding. They are often a great way to stay active and to spend time with the family.

Over the past few months we’ve had a number of clients coming in a little out of sorts after DIY injuries. Now, it goes without saying that DIY renovations come with plenty of obvious risks; hammers, nails and saws provide plenty of spine chilling and gruesome injuries. What people don’t often consider is the repetitive and compromising nature of some of the jobs.

Sanding a stairwell, painting a skirting board or cornice, mixing cement, or digging trenches are all possible sources of injury when we are not conditioned to that type of work. Rotator cuff strains, low back pain and wry neck are some of the more common examples of what you can wind up with.

So what’s to be done?

The first thing is to acknowledge the task for what it is. Here’s a few examples.

Sanding balustrades: repetitive, high velocity loading through the shoulder while lying twisted on an incline.

Painting a cornice – Prolonged neck extension and shoulder flexion while maintaining prolonged core and balance.

Digging a ditch – Repetitive heavy lifting, usually in an awkward position.

So if your 9 to 5 involves sitting at a computer and your exercise is using nice, well behaved gym machines, these DIY manoeuvres are, not surprisingly, going to cause a few issues. Once you’ve acknowledged your body is probably not conditioned to these activities, you are more likely to ease into them, like any new exercise.

Here are some tips:
  • Take plenty of breaks. Let your body become accustomed to new activities.
  • Change between activities as often as you can.
  • Listen to your body. If something feels sore, get it checked out.
  • Stretch. This sport is just as prone to injury as any other.
  • Check your posture.
  • Take your time to get into a comfortable position before getting stuck into fiddly tasks and move when you get uncomfortable.

Most of all, have fun!