Look after your own back when doing lots of DIY or gardening!

  1. Don't just suddenly spend a whole day digging or weeding etc. Varying the tasks that need doing will help you change position and therefore use different muscles helping to reduce problems associated with prolonged static postures.
  2. As much as is feasibly possible try to maintain your low back (lumbar) curve with all the activities. Being bent over for quite a while coupled with heavy work or repetitive work can overstrain back muscles making the back more vulnerable to injury.
  3. Take regular breaks. In the workplace the EEC regulations suggest we move every 45-60 mins but I'd suggest if you're doing something very heavy, static or repetitive, more frequent breaks are a good idea.
  4. Warming up and stretching - normally we just associate this with sport. But manual work is exercise too. Making sure that you have good length (check out the link for stretches) and strength into your back and leg muscles can help reduce overstrain on your back. If you're not sure what's tight or weak maybe book an appointment with a physio or someone similar who can assess you and give you specific advice on what to do.
  5. Wearing the right footwear - instead of wearing flip flops for ladder work or digging try wearing trainers or something with some support in it.
  6. Choosing the right equipment for the job. Equipment for gardening and DIY has advanced quite considerably over the years, if you're doing a lot of something it may well be worth investing in the right bit of kit for the job helping to limit problems etc.