Yard Work – What a Pain! Preventing Back Pain from Gardening.

Spring is here and the sun has been shining; so predictably, I have been treating lot of back injuries and muscle strains caused by improper twisting, turning, bending and heavy lifting from yard work.

Avoiding Injuries While Doing Yard Work

Here are the best ways to prevent injuries while gardening:

Warm up before working in your yard. Go for a walk and stretch before weeding or doing other strenuous yard work. A few easy stretches like trunk rotations to stretch your back, bringing your knee up to your chest to stretch your lower back and legs, and reaching above your head with hands locked to stretch your arms and shoulders will get you properly warmed up.

Use Proper Body Mechanics. Be aware of your body position when raking, bending or picking up debris in the yard. Remember to bend from your knees and keep your back straight. Use a cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy items. When using a hoe, place one foot in front of the other and switch to the other foot forward after 10 minutes. When carrying heavy items, hold them close to your body, and use your body weight to push the lawn mower, as opposed to your arms.

Don’t twist when digging. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart with one foot forward, alternating which foot you put in the front.

Change Tasks Often. Changing positions will help you avoid repetitive motions, which are hard on your body and can lead to injury. Stand up after 10 minutes of pulling weeds to stretch and change position, or better yet, take a short walk, have a drink of water and re-fuel. Staying hydrated and eating a nutritious snack will help you stay energized and be less likely to injure yourself.

Use Ergonomic Tools. Tools with larger, padded or curved handles are less strenuous to use over long periods of time. Look for protective gloves that have a no slip surface for a better grip and to help prevent blisters. When using ladders, have someone you, go slow, and touch each step as you ascend and descend.

Lift with your legs, not your back. Bend at your knees when picking up heavy objects instead of bending over at the waist, and don’t twist your back as you lift. If you have to turn, rotate your entire body.

Wear supportive shoes. You will be on your feet for a while, so wear shoes that will absorb some of the shock of walking and standing all day and have less of an impact on your back. Flip-flops and sandals are not adequately supportive for yard work.

Take your time. Most likely, you have more yard work to do than should be done in a single weekend, so break the work into easily manageable chunks and do a little at a time.

If you are sore and stiff the next day, use ice to soothe the discomfort. If there is no improvement in your aches and pains, see your Seattle Chiropractor.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment