With spring coming late this year and many of the outdoor jobs being put on hold, the wonderful bank holiday weather has seen us rush out to the DIY shops and Garden Centres to start getting our gardens and homes looking great for the summer. Carl Irwin, North London Chiropractor says “Unfortunately as we have all been sedentary for far longer than normal, this year, it is no surprise that many of us have or are likely to trigger aches and pains in the joints, particularly the back, neck, shoulders and knees. “
Here are his TOP PAIN STOPPER TIPS…for the DIY-er and Garden enthusiast…to Beat Bank Holiday Back
•LIFTING AND CARRYING
Always make sure that you lift heavy weights extremely carefully. Don't snatch at them, but approach them slowly, getting a firm grip and taking the weight with your legs rather than the lower part of your back. Gently hollow out your low back and slightly bend your knees. Always keep the load close to your body and try not to pivot on your legs but turn the whole body. If you have to transport any heavy loads, either get help or use a wheelbarrow. One of those two-wheeled trolleys is a very good investment if you do a lot of DIY.
It is always better to kneel on one leg rather than bending down repeatedly from the hips. If you suffer from knee problems or osteoarthritis use a cushion to kneel on. If you must bend remember keep the back as hollow as possible.
Your workbench should be at a level such that you do not need to bend slightly forward from the hips. It is wise not to stand in front of your workbench for long periods at a time. When standing at a workbench, it is much better if you place one foot slightly higher up as with a bar rail. A Work Mate is ideal for the average height and also has a lower shelf on which to rest your foot.
•VARYING THE TASK
Working continuously at one task means that your movements are repetitive. This is the prime cause of a strains and sprains. If possible, carry out short periods of activity on a variety of jobs rather than slogging away at the same one all day.
Chilled muscles are often the cause of back pain. So keep yourself warm and covered. Wearing several layers and stripping off as you warm up is a suggestion.
However anxious you are to get the job done, it's sensible to take regular rest periods. A sit down with a cup of tea can make you feel better in the days to come, too! Not taking a regular break is as detrimental to your back as continually working in the same position.
•THE MORNING AFTER THE DAY BEFORE
If the next day you find that you ache, rest and recuperate. Should the pain persist, call us on 020 8905 4440. We will advise whether you should apply heat or ice packs to the area, or if you require treatment. Remember delaying treatment of a joint injury can lead to early degenerative changes.
ABOVE ALL, BE SENSIBLE. TAKE SIMPLE PRECAUTIONS, DON'T WORK BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY, AND REMEMBER YOUR MUSCLES AND JOINTS ARE PROBABLY NOT ACCUSTOMED TO THE JOBS YOU ARE DOING. IF YOU EXERCISE AND KEEP FIT GENERALLY, YOU'LL BE IN MUCH BETTER SHAPE FOR TACKLING ALL THOSE DIY JOBS.
NOTE TO EDITORS
With recent reports suggesting that the average person walks for as little as 9 minutes per day, it is no wonder 4 out of 5 people will get chronic problems with their backs and joints.
Carl Irwin is a Doctor of Chiropractic, in North London and a Member of the British Athletics Medical Services. He has been in practise for over 20 years and specialises in skeletal, joint and muscle problems and treats many athletic and sports injuries too.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR INTERVIEW CONTACT
Carl Irwin (Doctor of Chiropractic) on 020 8905 4440 or 07841 158853 or by e mail [email protected]