This time of year, my every Monday is filled with patients with back pain from gardening and yard work. In Minnesota, where summer is slow to arrive, this is the season for gardening. It’s also the season for back pain. If you’ve been sitting on the couch all winter long waiting for a warm up, now isn’t the time to start doing 12 hours of manual labor a day.
We are all tempted when we look outside just to get ‘er done. If you over do the gardening, I can assure you, you will have back pain. To avoid back pain from gardening, I recommend several simple tips.
1) Break your job out into 30 minute chunks. Then take a break. A 5 hour marathon weekend session is going to hurt.
2) My neighbors will tell you that I have hired nearly every kid in the neighborhood to help me with gardening. Despite what people think about kids; many of them love working, making money and helping people. My eleven year old neighbor took two car fulls of huge rocks and made a border for me last month. He was happy with the $8 an hour I paid him and it only took him four hours. My back didn’t hurt for two weeks like the last time I did something stupid. The best part about it was getting an opportunity to bond with my neighbor kid.
3) Vary your tasks, two hours bent over at the waist pulling tall weeds, is predictably going to be a problem. Change it up. Do some squatting, digging, bending, pulling so that you vary your tasks.
4) When you finish, don’t go flop on the couch in a heap of exhaustion. Take the dog on a short walk. It will help you activate your muscles again and loosen up.
If you follow these tips and remember to stretch afterwards, you will avoid a lot of the back pain from gardening that is common in the spring. I always end with this: if you hurt, call my Plymouth Chiropractic Office. I can help you.