Gardening is a common pastime for all ages, and with some simple tips and stretches, you’ll be able to continue working pain free for many seasons to come.
- Give your muscles a chance to warm up before working in the yard or garden. Practice stretching with the various movements you will be working in the yard, or take a short ten to fifteen-minute walk around the block.
- Avoid prolonged bending, pushing and pulling while raking and hoeing, which can strain shoulders or the lower back.
- Use long-handled tools, or the resulting forward and sideways bending can aggravate the neck or lower back.
- To avoid strain and muscle spasm on one side of the body, switch hands frequently while raking or hoeing.
- When using a hedge trimmer, keep your back straight and use short strokes to avoid upper arm and neck strain. Pause after three to five minutes.
- Carry medium-to-small sized loads of debris close to your body, or use a wheelbarrow to avoid strain on your back. Save heavier work for mid-way through your chores. This helps avoid sudden strenuous exertion on unused muscles and joints.
- Keep overhead work to five-minute episodes. Avoid extreme reaching with one arm.
- Kneel to perform tasks, rather than bend.
- Stretch! The following exercises will help prevent recurrences of spinal and related health problems. Back exercises should deal with flexibility first, strength second.
- Finally, if a task seems like too much work, it probably is. Hire a professional for tasks like landscaping, tree-topping or trimming large hedges.
For more information, consult with your family chiropractor.