Anxious about pulling those weeds? Or moving that timber sleeper in the garden?
Here are some simple things we can be aware of so that you don’t hurt yourself gardening this spring!
Gardening and landscaping are activities that almost all of us are capable of doing, and it’s great for our overall health!
- Gardening gets us into the sunshine
- Gets us using muscles we wouldn’t normally use during the week
- Is great for our mental health as well!
But gardening is also one of the common ways we see people injure themselves, and people of all ages too! This is often due to being out of practice coming from our cold wintery months, trying to do jobs by yourself that should be done by two or more (lifting and carrying). It is really easy to overdo it on that first warm weekend in particular.
Most commonly we see people
- Get lower back pain – Spasms, tightness, nerve irritation
- Repetitive stress injuries – Golf and tennis elbow, carpal tunnel
- Hip Pain – Bursitis and tendon irritation
- Postural stress – Headache, upper back tightness
So what are some things we can do to prevent this?
- Postural awareness
We spend lots of time in a bent forward position when in the garden, this can load up on joints and muscles that aren’t usually under that stress in daily life.
So be sure to have frequent breaks, stand up and move around, do some simple stretches to move your body in different planes.
This doesn’t just apply to pruning roses or pulling weeds, but be careful of your posture when mowing the lawns or using the whipper-snipper as well.
- Keep Moving
This is a follow on from the previous point, you might not have ‘poor posture’ but being stuck in one position for a long time can cause just as much discomfort, it’s the same principle as desk workers, if you can avoid getting sore hips and knees from kneeling too long then why wouldn’t you do whatever you could?
- Be aware of lifting
This is often an overused phrase in the work industry, but we all seem to forget about it at home! Simply put, if you can’t lift it, then don’t!
Wherever possible make sure you brace yourself for every lift, often the injury does not occur picking something up, it’s when we try to move with the weight. The best thing for that is before you move anything; scope out and plan where you need to walk, dispose of any obstacles, note any barriers and plan for each step! This way you’ll always be in control of your movements
- Start Slow
There’s no reason why you have to get all your gardening done in one day, or even a single stint. Do an hour here and an hour tomorrow instead. This will allow you to avoid the mass overload on the body and get you used to the unique movements that gardening and landscaping possesses
So what happens if I still hurt myself?
One of the most common and most painful injury is the back spasm, if this is to occur be sure to try and keep as mobile as possible, short little walks around the house, gentle movements – even when sitting and laying down.
Whilst doing these things ring the clinic and book in with one of our amazing osteopaths so we can reassure you and manage your pain through the painful period and get you back out to those weeds as soon as possible!
Many of the other injuries are due to prolonged stress, so try doing a different activity to give that area a short rest, if pain and symptoms still occur then be sure to book in for an injury assessment to identify the source of pain and a management plan to get you back into that sunshine!