Gardens are beginning to appear in backyards across the country from the White House to your house. Enjoying fruits, vegetables and flowers grown in your own backyard can be a family activity that is both fun and economical. To help keep a smile on your face and the pain away from your neck, back, shoulders, hips and knees try using the following tips:
- Warm up before you start. Gentle stretching of the muscles of your upper and lower body increases flexibility and ease of movement.
- Plan ahead and be realistic. Take your time and enjoy the process. Trying to do too much too quickly is a certain recipe for injury.
- Use good body mechanics. Lift with your legs while bending your knees to take pressure off of your neck and back. Avoid simultaneous bending, twisting and lifting – this creates more pressure than your spine and muscles can tolerate.
- Rotate activities. Change activities frequently. This allows you to use different muscles groups preventing fatigue and injury.
- Take frequent breaks. Take time to enjoy your accomplishments, stretch, and drink water every 30 minutes. This will help reduce the overall stress on your body.
- Use a stool, small bench, cushion or adaptive tools if you have chronic problems. These tools help reduce the pressure placed on your neck, shoulders, hips, knees and low back especially if you have had previous injuries.
- If you experience pain – stop immediately. Most gardening injuries occur when you are fatigued. If you experience pain, stop immediately and apply ice to the injured area for 15-20 minutes periods to help reduce the inflammation. Using heat will increase the inflammation making it worse rather than better. If your pain persists follow up with your chiropractic physician. If you experience shortness of breath or chest pains seek emergency attention.
Good luck! Enjoy the fruits, vegetables, and flowers of your garden all summer long.
Dr. William Madosky brings more than 30 years of experience in healthcare to his St. Louis chiropractic practice, at 2175 Big Bend Boulevard in Richmond Heights. This article was originally published in 2010 on William Madosky‘s website.