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          Recently, we had a patient come into our clinic with terrible lower back pain after a weekend filled with gardening and yard work. It is very common for us to see patients that are sore and in pain after gardening. To help prevent some of that soreness we have gathered several different tips to help you enjoy gardening without the pain afterwards.

         First, it is important before any physical activity to warm up. Before you start digging in the dirt, try some light arm movements or a brisk walk around the block to loosen your muscles. It is also important to know your strengths and limitations. Don’t overexert yourself because there is a lot of yard work; break up the work into small tasks and take breaks between each task.

          Once it’s time to begin the work, use these guidelines to ensure your gardening is as enjoyable and relaxing as you’d like it to be!

  • Avoid bending over repeatedly while standing to perform ground-level work like weeding. Get down closer to the task by kneeling or sitting on the ground or a gardening bench, rather than bending and twisting from the waist.
  • Don’t work too long in one position, especially one that is awkward or unusual. This can reduce circulation, restrict mobility, and promote strain injuries.
  • Lift dirt and plants by letting your arms, legs and thighs carry the load: bend and straighten at the knees instead of the back and hips.
  • Carry objects close to your body. Keeping the load close to your center of gravity reduces the risk of straining your neck and back. Try to handle smaller, more manageable loads at a time.
  • Switch hands frequently when doing prolonged raking, hoeing or digging actions. Repetitive motion on one side can bring on pain, including muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder and lower back.
  • Don’t overexpose yourself to long periods in the sun. Utilize protective measures for your head and skin, drink plenty of fluids, and take frequent breaks.

As always, if you do find yourself in some pain after gardening and yard work call our clinic and have our staff help alleviate your aches.