Ways to Avoid Pain While Working in Your Yard
If you have a green thumb, you are likely eager to work on your yard or in your garden this summer. However, you may not look forward to the aches and pains that follow. If you are looking to get outside, here are some tips that will help you avoid the pain that often comes along with yardwork.
Take Time to Warm Up
Before working outside, warm up your muscles like you would before vigorous exercise. Take five to 10 minutes to stretch, take a short walk and prepare your body for the frequent bending and lifting movements that come with yardwork and gardening. Loosen up your back to avoid back pain as much as possible.
Lift With Your Legs
It is crucial to use your legs to help you lift heavy objects. Otherwise, if you use your back, you have a greater chance of straining it. If something is too heavy for you to lift on your own, ask for assistance from someone else. Lifting something heavy on your own is not worth the risk of a potential injury.
Position Yourself Strategically
If possible, avoid bending over in the garden, as it will put a lot of strain on your back and neck. Instead, kneel as you work. Kneeling down will help stabilize your back as you work and may help you avoid future pain, especially if you use knee pads on hard surfaces. You can also try a side sitting position, which should help decrease stress on your lower back, or choose to work while sitting on a pad or a stool for more stability. By positioning yourself carefully, you will be able to keep your back as straight as possible, rather than having it arched in one position for too long.
Monitor Your Movements
Pivot your body instead of twisting it. Pivoting allows you to move your lower body in the same direction as your upper body, aligning your feet with your upper body as you change directions. If you cannot avoid twisting, use your core body strength by pulling your belly button in toward your spine as you move.
As you do particular tasks, take note of how you are moving. If you are overextending your arms as you rake, take smaller strokes and shuffle your feet back and forth. If your back is arched while you mow the lawn, make a conscious effort to keep it straight. If you are using a push mower, keep the handle close to your body.
Rather than push yourself too much, take frequent breaks. Get a drink, go inside or sit down for a while. Another option is to stop working on one task and focus on another. For example, stop raking leaves and focus on watering the lawn to give your muscles a break. You can prevent being in one position for too long by switching tasks. Stop to stretch every now and then to ensure your muscles remain loose. Once you are finished, ice your back if it is feeling tense or sore.
Keep Yourself in Shape
Keeping a healthy weight and staying active will make it less likely for you to experience aches and pains. It will also help you to use better body mechanics. Dr. Santhosh Thomas, DO, MBA, said, “If you’re carrying around extra weight, just recognize that it’s going to affect your body mechanics. And you should use the appropriate tools for the right job because bad tools will lead to bad body mechanics.”
If you are trying to keep in shape and work in the yard, but still find yourself having consistent aches and pains afterward, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. You may need realignment to help ease chronic pain. Why work in pain when you don’t have to?
For more information about avoiding pain while gardening or to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor, contact us today.