This is the time of year where I get the most calls of people having back pain from yard work. If you have been a relative couch potato all winter and then got outside this weekend and dug a bunch of holes, tilled the garden and raked leaves, it is probably pretty obvious why your back hurts. Allowing yourself to become deconditioned and then doing repetitive activities you haven’t done for months hurts.
If you are relatively fit and work out regularly, working in the yard is just one of those facts of life that tend to aggravate any weak spot you already have in your spine. Unlike working out at the gym, the forces on your body in the yard are less predictable ( how much force will it take to pull that tree root out? Lots and then none as you careen backwards). The tasks involve unexpected resistance ( we have all been digging holes and hit rocks sending reverberations all the way up our skeletons). Yard projects also tend to last longer than workouts and I know that I try just to rush through them without taking breaks to stretch.
Odds are, you have already tweaked yourself and are experiencing your own back pain from yard work or you wouldn’t be reading this so call our office and schedule an appointment. Also, please start icing and don’t dare put heat on it.
To prevent future back pain from yard work, here are some tips I have learned over the years. First, if you have a big project like a great big truck of wood chips that you want to install, commit to doing it for an hour and then taking a break. I also am impatient and when I decide to do something I want it done yesterday. That personality has not served me well over the years when it comes to yard work. One hour, then take a break and kick your feet up, stretch a little, drink a lemonade and see how you feel before you go back to hour number two. Do this every hour. Six hours of doing repetitious activities that your body isn’t used to will hurt anyone.
Also, please identify your weak spots of your body and stretch them after you do your yard work. I am not suggesting a 45 minute stretch session, but 3-4 stretches on the parts that you already know will bother you the most. Don’t have a weak link on that body of yours? Yeah right, we all have one. If you really think that, you aren’t paying enough attention to your tight muscles. Those are my people who really get hurt when they hurt themselves because they don’t pay attention to the warning signs of an oncoming injury.
As always, our Plymouth Chiropractic office is here to help. If you have questions or have hurt yourself, call us.