Spring has sprung and with it comes the annual yard work marathons. For Physiotherapists, this is back pain season. Gardening is very physical work, and after a long and indoor winter, many people are ill-equipped for a rapid increase in physical labour. If you are a “perennials only” sort of person or a serious gardener these tips will help you stave off back pain when you are exercising that green thumb.
1) Keep It Light
Don’t fill that wheelbarrow or bucket to the brim. Many lighter loads may take a little more time but the heavier loads are much more risky for those precious discs in your spine.
2) Vary Your Posture
Try not to do any single activity for more than 20-25 minutes at a time. If you have been bent down getting your hands dirty for 20 minutes, stand up move on to a standing task. Your spine will thank you for the variability, and you can always return to a task to finish it off later.
3) Take Breaks
There are no ribbons for fastest gardener. Take frequent 10 minute breaks to let your muscles recover. Lifting while tired leads to poor form and an inevitable call to the Physiotherapist.
4) Keep Things Close
Whether you are lifting a bag of topsoil or raking up some debris from the long winter. Keep loads close to your body. Holding a weight with outstretched arms is exponentially more challenging for your spine than holding it close to your chest.
Gardening is real exercise! So treat it that way. Make sure you have had a good breakfast, and you have water on hand to drink while you work.
TOP TIP – Stay fit all winter long with a program designed by an expert Therapia Physiotherapist. This way you are ready when the snow melts to hit that garden risk free!