How to Avoid Back Injuries When Choosing to DIY Roof Maintenance

Does a tired and aching back after being hunched over working on your roof all day sound familiar?

Back pain is a common complaint with 8 out of 10 Australians experiencing it at some stage.

Here are some physiotherapist-approved tips to alleviate lower back strain. It may sound like common sense, but a large proportion of us do not bend correctly.  Most of us bend over with our pelvis or waist while keeping our legs straight. Unfortunately, this is a guaranteed way to place unnecessary pressure on your back. Health professionals recommend bending your knees first to lower your body to a squat like position while keeping your back straight.  Allow the large muscles in your legs to help lift instead of your back primarily bearing the burden.  If you are lifting a heavy object, keep it as close to your body as possible and lift with your legs. Exercise caution when carrying a bucket bag as a leaf holder. Stay mindful of the weight and how you carry the load, particularly while carrying it on a ladder.

Cooler temperatures during these winter months tend to constrict our arterial system, especially as we get older. This can decrease blood flow and reduce joint mobility. Gentle daily physical motion and correct posture are excellent remedies.

So, what is the best posture to adopt when doing roof maintenance?

Sitting on your roof to clean instead of excessively reaching from a ladder may allow for a better posture. The less bending from the waist the better! Avoid a stiff neck and shoulders by trying to keep a level head instead of looking down for long periods of time. Refrain from looking up too often as well! Many DIYers stay below the roofline and reach up and over, which is aggravating for your back. Before undertaking any physical exertion such as climbing your ladder or cleaning your gutters, stretching is also a great way to protect your health and prevent unnecessary injury. The Australian Pain Management Association lists the following 16 exercises to relieve lower back pain.  If performing that many exercises seems daunting at first, try gentle standing back arches before and after the task.  It is always important to check with your GP prior to starting any new exercise regime.

It is also imperative to gather the right tools for the trade. Supportive, non-slip shoes are a must-have. Although it is the Australian way to sport thongs all year round, it is not the most practical for your feet especially when undertaking labour-intensive tasks. Thongs can be a slip hazard and do not keep your feet in a neutral, supportive position. This leads to an unsupported spine.

Another necessity is a sturdy, height appropriate ladder. Read our blog here about the alarmingly high number of fatalities caused by falls from ladders and roofs. A multipurpose ladder with an extension function is always handy.  This capability may lessen the need to lift and move the ladder around to get to the perfect angle to clean out your gutter. Ensure the ground underneath the ladder is level before you climb at a height. Additionally, it is a good idea to get gloved up to prevent lacerations from potentially sharp cut off roof and gutter edges.

Although it is always best to seek professional advice regarding back problems there are strategies to lessen the complaint. It has been proven that cleaning your gutters yourself can be a dangerous task. Gutter-Vac has got your back however! We have unmatched expertise and we are skilled in working at heights with correct manual handling techniques. Please do not hesitate to ask our technicians for further information on how we can help you enhance your home.  

Latest Posts