Avenue Clinic March Newsletter – Decorating and DIY


Don’t Get Back Pain When You Start The DIY Jobs!

 In 1999, the last year for which statistics are available, 1,400 people injured themselves during the Easter Break – making it the most dangerous period in the year with 200,000 injuries or deaths.

More and more of us are taking on painting and decorating at home. You just need to make sure you do so safely so that you don’t injure yourself. Please be careful when you get out that ladder!


According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 3,900 people are treated in hospital every week as a result of DIY related injuries.


There are three particular home improvement tasks, which can cause back pain or other problems.


  • Painting and decorating – including painting those awkward areas such as ceilings, and papering the walls
  • Pruning and patios – the ‘room outside’ has a lot to answer for with laying patios and digging among the worst offenders
  • Moving and lifting – lifting heavy items, shifting furniture and twisting on ladders 


If you are planning on painting a ceiling, think about getting the largest amount of

paint on in the shortest space of time.


  •  Use a paint pad or roller with an extended handle and hold it at chest height. 
  •  Keep your head as neutral as possible and keep facing forward so you don’t

       over exert your neck. 

  •  Move your whole body with the roller rather than just your shoulder to spread the stress
  •  If you can lie down – do!


Don’t twist again


  • If you have to use a ladder, make sure you are always facing it and move the ladder regularly rather than lean to reach out.
  • Always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction



Inspect the ladder:

  • Take time to check the condition of the ladder both before and after use.
  • Check that the ladder is sufficiently robust to support your weight.
  • Make sure the steps are free of oil, wet paint, mud, or any other potentially slippery substance.
  • Erecting the ladder:
  • Clear the area around the ladder from any clutter. Make sure that no electrical cords or
    wire leads are close.
  • If the ladder needs to be in front of a door, consider locking the door to prevent surprise openings.
  • If the ladder is in a high-traffic area, draw attention to this fact in the house – a hand-written sign would do.
  • Make sure the floor is even and stable. Avoid wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Always support the ladder at four points


  • Climbing the ladder:
  • Wear suitable shoes – no heels, barefoot is not good, nor are most sandals.
  • Never climb onto wet or slippery steps, make sure they are dry.
  • Never overstretch – do not climb beyond the last three steps of a ladder.
  • Keep your shoulders between the rails and don’t over-reach – move the ladder instead.
  • Always keep 3 point contact with the ladder.
  • If your ceilings are high, but your ladder too small, don’t try to overreach yourself – renting or borrowing a suitable ladder is much safer.
  • Don’t let your children climb up the ladder: prevent access at the end of the day if you have to, or fold it up after use.
  • Be prepared for an unforeseen vertigo attack – don’t look down, breath slowly and steadily, and go back down step by step.