Dr. Jacob Fletcher from Well Beings Chiropractic gives us some advice on how to avoid back pain while working in the yard.
I have been hearing lots of complaints of pains created by spring yard work and gardening. Every spring and summer our practice sees an uptick in patients complaining of back pain from yard work. I recommend following 5 tips to help you keep your back in good shape all summer long.
Props: Lawn mower, rubber gardening mat, gardening stool, bags of mulch, large pots, rake, leaf blower (Either in studio or on a patch of grass outside the studio)
Warm Up - Before beginning; take a few minutes to warm up your muscles by doing some dynamic warm up exercises. These include going for a brisk 5 – 10 minute walk around the yard, jumping jacks, etc
Mowing - Leaning forward as you push the lawn mower can strain your back. Be sure to maintain proper posture and push with your arms and legs instead of your back.
Weeding - Bending over at the waist for prolonged periods is a sure way to cause your back muscles to start complaining. Kneel on a rubber gardening mat, sit on a wheeled gardening stool, or sit directly on the ground instead. Make sure you have all your tools close at hand.
Lifting - When lifting bags of dirt, mulch or potted plants, keep your back straight and bend with your knees and hips (not your back) when reaching down. The power for your lift comes from your buttocks and legs. If you are picking up piles of grass, leaves or other yard waste, make the piles small to decrease the weight.
Raking - Most people use the rake with their dominant hand only. This causes one side of your body to be overused. Try switching sides every few minutes, even though it will feel awkward. Your back, neck and arms will thank you.