Are you losing your dog in the grass? How to avoid back strains from gardening
Is it time for you to get the lawnmower out? Here are some tips to avoid back strains from gardening this summer and advice on how to stay healthy!
Tips to avoid back strains from gardening: the most important thing is to make sure that you take regular breaks when gardening. Your back can manage a certain amount of hard labour but if you do all those digging and lifting jobs in one go it will be far more likely to strain, or ‘go’. Also, remember you have probably been more sedentary over the winter so you’ll need to ease back into it.
Have a break every 20 minutes or so, particularly when doing activities where you’re bending over, such as digging garden beds, so that your back can straighten and regain its normal position. This allows the tissues around your spine, including ligaments and muscles, to recover from the exertion. You can do the same amount of work in the garden overall, but spread it out over several days in order to protect your back.
Secondly, remember to stay hydrated! This is particularly important in our hot, arid British summers (!). On a serious note, strenuous gardening will dehydrate you, so do keep up your water intake. Read my blog next month to find out about infused water with ways that you can make water so much more appealing and tasty!
Lastly, alternate the types of activity you are doing in the garden. Spend 20 minutes digging then switch to pruning where you can be in a more upright position, then back to digging or weeding again. Put those breaks in between, and don’t forget to stop and enjoy your handiwork!
If you do suffer from back strain, spasms or even more serious problems with your neck and back, then why not call us here at Lushington Chiropractic – we’re here to help you!
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Thanks for reading!
Tips to prevent back ache when gardening
Gardening can be addictive for many of us here in Sussex. Take a short walk around Eastbourne and you’ll see a plenty of well manicured lawns and cared for flower beds. As we get into the Spring, with these Bank Holidays, everything will start to grow again.
Whether you enjoy the rewards of regularly maintaining a well kept garden or you’ve been put off dealing with those unruly flower beds, we should all spend more time in the garden this time of year.
However as many of us know to our detriment, over enthusiastic gardening can take it’s toll on our backs causing unnecessary aches and pains.
It’s all too easy to spend longer than you planned out in the garden and you end up aching because of it. “Back ache specialists see a flood of gardening related aches this time of year,” says James Revell (Doctor of Chiropractic). “As the weather improves many of us end up suffering from gardening for too long in awkward positions.”
Gardening is really rewarding and can be a great activity to help keep us fit. But it is all too easy to overdo it. Take it slowly to start with, until your muscles and joints get used to the increased demands. You can just throw yourself into it and “get it done” but if your muscles and joints are not used to it, then you could end up regretting it with aches and pains in your back.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic, we offer these top self help tips for local Eastbourne gardeners:
Gardening Self Help Tip #1
Warm up – You may find the idea of warming up before gardening to be a bizarre concept. But the dangers of overexerting yourself in the flower beds are just as real as sustaining an injury on the sports field. At the very least, a few stretches and mobility exercises can help to prevent the unfortunate tweaking of a muscle.
Gardening Self Help Tip #2
Take regular breaks – Don’t work for more than one hour at a time. This is particularly important if you’re not used to gardening or have a lot of heavy work or bending to do.
Gardening Self Help Tip #3
Try to keep good posture – Don’t hunch over your work. It’s worth sitting, kneeling on a firm rubber mat rather than spending all day bent over. Your ache and pain free back will thank you for it.
Gardening Self Help Tip #4
Bend your knees – Keep your back straight and bend your knees when lifting heavy pots etc. Just remember the basics: Back straight, Knees bent Tummy tight – it works.
Gardening Self Help Tip #5
Listen to your body – If you start aching in your back or any other part of your body then stop, have a good stretch and a glass of water.
Look after your back as well as the garden this summer.
Take a break when you need to and relax. After all the gardening will still be there waiting for you next weekend.
These gardening self help tips have been provided by your local award winning chiropractic team at Lushington Chiropractic. Our clinic in Eastbourne has already helped thousands of local people by diagnosing, treating and helping to prevent back ache. To find out more about our treatments for back ache please call 01323 722499 or visit www.chirocare.co.uk.
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A chiropractor’s guide to protecting the back when gardening
So the focus for my blog this month is GARDENING and some tips for protecting the back when gardening. It is inspired by my mum and all my patients here in Eastbourne who are just starting to get back out in the garden now the weather is warming up.
Getting out in the garden can be very therapeutic. It can be stress relieving and being out in the fresh air is lovely, plus the sun is great for Vitamin D levels. Growing plants, especially your own vegetables can be very satisfying, and having that nice environment to sit out in on a nice summers day or for a BBQ is well worth the effort.
Of course, as a chiropractor there are a few things I would say to keep in mind. If you are prone to back problems, it is important to be aware that certain activities can exacerbate discomfort and that certain steps should be taken to protect your back when gardening. I firstly started out doing a little research of my own by getting out in the garden to appreciate what it is my patients are doing when they tell me they have been doing a little digging! Wow when those roots are holding tight they are hard to get out!
So what is it about gardening that means we need to take care?
To those unfamiliar with what is entailed in maintaining an attractive and orderly outdoor space, gardening may seem like a sedate pastime. Yet, the reality is that many aspects of gardening can involve sudden bursts of activity that the body may well not be ready for, such as twisting and lifting. Combine these movements with poor posture and poor technique and the results can be extremely painful.
The first point to make is that if you have good strong core and back muscles and have looked after your back in other daily activities and sports then your body is much more likely to be robust and ready for the exercises and challenges that you may throw at it.
If you are unsure about how to do this then ask advice from someone who can help, such as a chiropractor or a good personal trainer.
Secondly here are some tips that you should bear in mind:
Like any other exercise, start off slowly and warm up. Going for a gentle walk, doing some light movement or starting off with lighter/easier jobs first will help your body warm up and lessen the chance of muscle strain. This may seem like overkill for a spot of gardening, but if you are serious about protecting your back it can be essential.
You will also need to wear clothes that are suitable for the task at hand when you step outside. Tight clothes could constrict your movement. Also be mindful of the type of footwear that you have to prevent slipping in wet conditions.
When using a ladder or steps, make sure it is planted firmly in position. Have someone with you if necessary to help and try not to overextend when you reach or lean out. Avoid this temptation by moving the ladder frequently when you are working over a large area.
Over-reaching and leaning is one to avoid even when not on a ladder. Keep what you are doing closer to you, this will put less strain on the body. You can get tools with longer handles to help with this.
When digging, push down rather than pushing too far out in front, this helps to minimise bending.
If you are buying heavy items that are delivered, have them dropped off as close to where you need them as you can, to avoid having to carry them later. Also if you are buying big bags of compost for instance, consider getting more smaller bags to make the lifting easier and alway carry heavy things close to the body. A wheelbarrow is also handy to limit carrying.
If you are doing lots of potting, think about doing this on on a work surface at a comfortable height so as to limit stooping over.
Vary your activity and take regular breaks, don’t be tempted to do it all once due to the weather forecast!
A knee pad is useful for those knees, rather than kneeling on hard surfaces.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated in hot weather.
Finally if you think something is a bit too much, get someone to help out, take it easy and don’t overdo it.
If you are concerned about protecting the back when gardening, consider all the points above when you are getting outside this summer. If you need some further advice or have back pain you can always contact us. Our website is a good place to start.
Thats all for now, above all enjoy!