By Lisa Klaus, D.C., Faculty Clinician, Palmer Chiropractic Clinics
Spring is a welcomed season after a long winter. After months of shoveling snow, we now prepare for spring yard work. Even if you enjoy preparing lawns and garden beds, spring cleaning may present opportunities for injury. Most often these injuries are neck and lower-back strain and shoulder pain.
The “winter body” is not always ready to be a weekend warrior when that first beautiful weather finally shows up. The bending and lifting of mulch or rock, the pulling to start a mower, or even pushing a heavy wheelbarrow can easily injure you if you’re unprepared.
As with any activity that you haven’t done in a while, the likelihood of injuries, strains, or muscle soreness increases. To prevent unnecessary pain while doing yardwork, here are some tips:
- Use proper lifting mechanics when lifting bags of mulch or garden rock. Bend at your knees, not at your waist. Keep objects you’re lifting close to your body, not out in front of you.
- Don’t overload your wheelbarrow. Taking more frequent, lighter loads is better than one heavy load.
- Stand up straight and keep your head up when you mow. Push with your arms and legs.
- When raking, switch sides every few minutes. Even though this may feel awkward, your back and neck will thank you.
- When on your hands and knees pulling weeds, always face the direction in which you’re working. Sit on a rubber mat or bucket to prevent twisting and reaching.
- Consider using raised flower beds instead of a traditional in-ground garden bed which will limit the amount of time spent bent over or resting on your knees.
- Wear the shoulder strap if your leaf blower or trimmer has one. This will prevent stress on your upper back.
- Wear good supportive tennis shoes, not your typical old, dingy yard shoes. Proper footwear will support your body and lessen the risk for falling or tripping on uneven ground.
- Take care of yourself. Stretch before and after yard work, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. Your weeds did not appear in one night, so don’t attempt to get rid of them in one day.
- Consider getting a chiropractic adjustment, especially if you have pain after working on your yard or garden. Chiropractors are trained to identify and address musculoskeletal issues to keep you at your best.
During a chiropractic appointment, your doctor may also discuss a treatment plan or provide information and activities that help you feel better faster, such as strengthening or stretching exercises, food and nutritional recommendations, lifestyle suggestions or other posture improvement suggestions.
Whether you’re looking forward to getting your garden started or embark on a new fitness plan, chiropractors at Palmer Chiropractic Clinics are happy to help you feel your best to enjoy the warmer weather all summer long.
The Palmer Chiropractic Clinics provide safe, effective, affordable chiropractic care to approximately 170,000 patients each year. Learn more or find contact information to make an appointment at palmer.edu/clinics.