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Dangerous DIY: 5 things not to do

Dangerous DYI photo by Sam Beebe/ CC 2.0

DIY at home has never been more popular. It probably has a lot to do with the preponderance of general home improvement, renovation, and flipping shows on HGTV and the like. But while you may enjoy watching people gut outdated rooms and put them back together with features from this century, it doesn’t mean you should run out and try to do the same. Aside from the training and experience it takes to accomplish many of these tasks successfully, there’s also your back to consider. If you are dealing with a chronic back pain, doing it yourself could mean disaster.

Here are the biggest offenders, otherwise known as the home improvement tasks and activities you may want to consider outsourcing.

  1. Painting

What seems like a pretty tame activity could end up causing an injury or worsening an existing one. The repetitive motion of lifting and lowering the paint brush or roller can stress the muscles, especially if you concentrate the action on one side of your body. Stretching, bending, twisting, and contorting your body to reach certain parts of the walls could also be the cause of back pain and damage.

  1. Anything that requires you to be on a ladder

Climbing a ladder comes with its inherent challenges for anyone, but for someone suffering with a back injury, the potential danger increases dramatically. If it hurts every time you turn, twist, or reach, or if you’re prone to back spasms, you should probably leave the climbing to someone else.

  1. Yard makeover

Envisioning a new outdoor living room and kitchen, or maybe a covered patio and a lush garden? Sounds great—especially if someone else will be doing the work. If you still want to participate, heed the advice of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH). “If you have to lift, push, or pull while twisting your spine, you may get back pain,” they said. “Try to stand up straight and avoid heavy lifting when you can. If you do lift something heavy, bend your legs and keep your back straight.”

  1. Redoing floors

Outside of the bending, stretching, kneeling, and twisting you’ll surely do during this task, there’s another thing to consider when laying or refinishing floors: the dangers of slipping and falling. Uneven, rough, or slippery surfaces could put you on your back, which surely won’t improve your condition.

  1. Demolition

If you’re a regular HGTV watcher, you’ve probably seen homeowners swing a hammer at old kitchen cabinets, kick in a wall that’s being taken down, or pry up crusty countertops. Looks like fun, doesn’t it? But it can also be dangerous, especially if you are already seeking treatment for a sore back.

The sheer weight of the hammer makes it a no-no for someone whose strength is not 100 percent. The power needed to swing it, or to kick or pull with enough force to demolish existing items, may just not be possible. And, once everything has been broken down, it has to be removed from your space, and therein lies another challenge: Carrying all that old material you’ve just torn out of your home. Use the same safety principles you would use to lift anything heavy or unwieldy. Or, better yet, leave it to someone else.

When it’s time to see a doctor

Finding yourself in need of treatment for back pain? If you’ve been dealing with pain and it’s not getting better, it might be time to find a leading back doctor. The good news for those suffering from chronic pain is advances in minimally invasive surgical techniques mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.

For more information, contact Disc Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments for chronic back pain, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.

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