At long last the sun has come out and temperatures are on the rise and you may be planning a spot of gardening this weekend. Alison Eaves, chiropractor at Revive Chiropractic in Leeds has some gardening advice in conjunction with the British Chiropractic Association that will help you to avoid back pain.
Lots of patients come in to the clinic complaining of back pain after a weekend spent in the garden. Whilst you cannot completely eliminate the risk of aches and pains after gardening, you can certainly take a few simple steps to lessen the stiffness.
Things you should do
DO start slowly and make sure the body is warmed up by starting with smaller jobs before progressing to any heavy duty task such as heavy lifting or heavy digging.
DO wear loose fitting clothing that allows you to move freely.
DO wear enough layers and stay warm, once you become cold the muscles and joints will stiffen up.
DO use gardening aids such as a kneeling pad to reduce stress and load on the knees.
DO consider working at a table for some tasks rather than at ground level if the task allows e.g. potting plants.
DO avoid spending lots of time bending over in a hunched position. Bending forwards for long periods strains the back muscles and causes them to fatigue. This is when injuries can occur.
DO change activities regularly as this stops any repetitive strain on certain parts of the body.
DO get help with bigger jobs. You can easily hurt yourself by trying to manage tasks all by yourself.
Things to avoid
DON’T spend all day in the garden if you have done no gardening for 6 months, you will be very stiff.
DON’T be afraid to ask for help or sit down and rest for a few minutes.
DON’T forget that you can always come back to a job and finish it at a later date.