Spring has sprung in Saratoga! Getting outside and working in your yard can provide a great workout, but all that bending, twisting, reaching and pulling can put a lot of stress and strain on the body. It is important before heading out into the garden to properly warm up all the major muscle groups - legs, shoulders, neck and back. Below are some tips for a pain-free Spring:
- Warm-up by walking in place for 20 seconds. Then gently bend forward and hold for 20 seconds. Next roll you shoulders up to your ears and back several times. Extend your arms straight out from your sides and slowly twist your torso one way and then the other.
- Use an over-the-counter lumbar support to protect your low back when performing heavy lifting such as bags of fertilizer or mulch.
- When planting seeds or pulling weeds, it is better to kneel on a foam mat then to stand and constantly bend forward.
- Avoid prolonged periods of reaching upward over your head when trimming hedges. This repetitive motion can inflame the facet joints of your lower back. I advise using a step ladder so you are working at waist level when pruning.
- Avoid heavy lifting and carrying. If you have to carry a heavy load more than 3-4 feet, use a garden cart or wheel barrow to prevent painful spasms and strains of your spinal muscles and ligaments.
- Cool down is just as important as a warm-up. At the end of your gardening session stretch out all the major muscle groups.
Hope this helps! Dr. Smith - Chiropractor