Avoid Yard Work Pain and Injuries with These Tips
Do you dread the aches and pains you know you'll face after working in your yard during the weekend? Pulling weeds, pruning your rose bushes, or mowing your lawn may not seem like strenuous chores, but yard work activities are a common cause of stiffness and achy muscles and joints. Following a few of these tips will help you avoid injuries and pain the next time yard work is on your schedule.
The longer you remain in one position, the more likely you are to experience stiff joints and tight, painful muscles. Change your position at least every 20 to 30 minutes. If you've been on your feet trimming overhead tree branches, switch to a seated activity for a half-hour before tackling the branches again.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is important whether you're going for a run, playing softball, or working in the garden. When you stretch before you tackle your latest yard work project, you'll:
- Improve blood flow to your limbs
- Keep your joints and muscles loose and flexible
- Ease tight muscles
Failing to stretch could mean that your muscles will tighten while you work, limiting your range of motion. When muscles can't extend fully, you're more likely to experience muscle damage, strains, and painful joints.
Think Before You Move
Injuries are more likely to occur when you bend or twist. You can often avoid these injuries if you change the way you move. If you need to reach the flat of petunias behind your back, don't twist from the waist to reach the flowers. Instead, turn your entire body toward the petunias, pick them up, then move your body back to your original position.
Are you planning to spend the afternoon planting new shrubs or painting your fence? Don't forget to alternate hands occasionally. Using one hand for hours not only causes pain in your hand and fingers, but may also strain the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments on one side of your body.
Pay Attention to Your Posture
Poor posture stresses your joints, tightens your muscles, and increases your risk of sprains, strains, herniated discs, and other injuries. Unfortunately, it's not easy to maintain good posture when you're working in the yard. If you're planting seeds or flowers, try to bend from the waist instead of hunching your upper back and shoulders. When you operate your push mower, keep your spine and neck in a straight, neutral position.
Use the Appropriate Gardening Tools
The right tool makes any job easier. Stools, cushioned kneeling pads, rolling plant stands, elevated planting beds, and ergonomic gardening tools make yard work more comfortable and less likely to cause aches and pains.
Do you need to move a load of paving stones or bags of soil? Lifting heavy items can strain ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which can pull your spine out of alignment. Use a garden cart or wheelbarrow to move heavy items instead. Be sure to bend your knees and use your leg muscles, not your back muscles, when you move a heavy object into the cart or wheelbarrow. Don't hesitate to ask for help if the object is heavier than you expected.
Poor posture and unsafe lifting practices are common causes of back pain. In fact, 26% of people with back pain attributed their symptoms to physical work, according to a Statista survey.
See Your Chiropractor
Your chiropractor offers treatments that will ease your yard work aches and pains. Spinal manipulation, or adjustments, realign your spine, reduce tension on your muscles and tissues, and increase range of motion. Massage relaxes tight muscles, relieves spasms, and prompts your body to produce natural pain killers.
Want to avoid yard work pain in the future? Schedule regular visits with your chiropractor. When your spine is properly aligned, you'll be less likely to develop joint or muscle pain or experience strains or sprains. Best of all, chiropractic treatment is completely natural and doesn't cause any side effects.
Tired of dealing with pain after finishing yard work? We'll help you work out the kinks and soothe your aches. Contact us to schedule your visit.
Harvard Health Publishing: The Importance of Stretching, 3/14/2022
SPINE-Health: Is Poor Posture Causing Your Back Pain?
American Chiropractic Association: Back Pain Facts and Statistics
Statista: Back Pain in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts, 8/25/2021
Palmer College of Chiropractic: April Showers Bring May Flowers…And Yard Work