It’s that time of the year again and I already have patients visiting due to lower back pain from gardening. For those of you who have not begun the spring yard grooming task yet, consider these simple steps to prevent aches and pains.
-Stretch your lower back, neck, and legs before beginning and after finishing. If you are not sure what to do, ask for help from your chiropractor. You can easily learn the stretches and they will save your back time and time again.
-Stand and realign your posture upright every 10 minutes.
-Begin the season with short gardening sessions at first (15 minutes or less) then work your way into longer sessions.
-Be cautious about repetitively reaching or leaning in the same way. Try using both arms equally and try sitting on a small stool versus kneeling or bending over.
-Incorporate core exercises into your daily routine. Research is finding that core exercises help to prevent acute episodes of back pain by strengthening the muscles that surround the spine, which reduces the risk of strain and provides spinal support.
-When lifting be sure to hold objects close to the body and contract the abdominal muscles to help lessen the work of the back muscles. Always lift with the legs and keep the back straight.
-Keep in mind injuries are more likely with pulling motions versus pushing motions.
-Never lift and twist the spine at the same time (be especially cautious with shoveling).
-Don’t forget to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure by wearing a hat and long sleeves. The back, arms, and face are common places to develop pre-cancerous lesions that could be prevented by avoiding direct sunlight.
Gardening should be fun and relaxing. Immediately stop and rest if you experience pain.