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Spring has returned, and it’s the time of year people come to us for aches and pains resulting from yard work and gardening. If you follow these tips, it will help you avoid the painful effects of taking care of your lawn and garden.

  1. Ease into yard work, as you would with any sport or activity you hadn’t done in months. Start with up to a half-hour a day and grow from there, rather than rush to finish all your projects on the weekend.
  2. Mix it up by varying your activity. For example, if you need to rake, dig and kneel on the ground or carry flower pots, bags of dirt, mulch, etc., do one activity for a short period of time then change to another activity. Rotating your work will help you avoid strain and overuse.
  3. Switch hands when raking, hoeing and digging. You may prefer one side over the other, depending on your handedness, but try to switch off periodically to minimize muscle fatigue, joint stress and pain. Know that if you have a “bad back,” these three activities are right up there with the worst things to do.
  4. Squat to lift heavy objects. Bending at the waist and lifting with your back will increase your risk for a back injury. Take a wide stance, stick out your buttocks and keep your back straight as you squat down. Use your glutes and thighs to lift, not your back.
  5. Avoid working too long in one position, especially sitting on the ground or bending forward. Mix it up like we mentioned in tip number two.
  6. Raised garden and flower beds reduce the workload for your back. Rather than twist and bend, elevate your outdoor beds or use pots and containers for planting.
  7. Don’t twist or turn at the waist while carrying something heavy. If you do need to change direction, rather than rotating through your spine, use your feet.
  8. Carry heavy objects close to your body. This will reduce the risk of straining your neck and back.
  9. Take frequent breaks.
  10.  If pain or injury occurs after the work is done, apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes, every two hours. If soreness or pain does not go away within a few days, give us a call. You may be in need of a chiropractic adjustment.