Have you been spring cleaning your house, or your yard, and now you’re in pain? Maybe you’ve been putting it off a little because of the pain you were in last spring after.
Many of us love to garden and as spring rolls in, those who love getting into the dirt often reap the unwelcome result of sudden back pain. Bending, shoveling, picking up bags, and even cutting the grass, all contribute to unexpected back pain. Just like any other task that requires muscle exertion, yard work requires the right technique and preparation to minimize the risk of strain and pain. Consider these tips for avoiding low back pain while gardening and how to manage it if it happens.
Exercise Your Lower Back
Keeping your back muscles strong and flexible helps you prevent strain and injury. You can warm up for yard work with basic stretching exercises that target your back. The rehab team at R2 Wellness Centers can make recommendations for several exercises that you can do now. Staying active also maintains muscle strength and reduces the impact of gardening on your back.
Yard work involves plenty of bending and lifting, making it critical to understand the proper technique. Focus on your hips and knees when bending or lifting something heavy. Instead of bending for longer tasks like planting or weeding, try kneeling on a cushion or knee pad.
Pay Attention to Muscles After the Work is Done
Just as you need to warm up before doing outdoor work, you should also have a cool-down period. Activities that relax your muscles lower their risk of stiffening up after strenuous work.
Don’t Overdo It
Pace yourself as you start yard projects. Give your muscles time to relax throughout the work and alternate between light and heavy tasks. Working, with others also gives you an opportunity to reduce the impact on your back by asking a friend or relative to help you lift and move heavy objects.
If you experience lower back pain after yard work, try:
Alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected area
Wearing back support
Taking a few days of rest
If you experience back pain for any reason, and the pain is not going away on its own, call us for an evaluation.