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Top 10 tips for gardening this season

| News and Events | 02/10/2012

Garden

From when the gardening season begins in spring and until the end of the summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.

The main cause of back pain when gardening is prolonged stretching and overuse of the ligaments and joints in the spine.

1. Get your muscles warm before doing any stretching. You should never stretch a cold muscle as this increases the chances of injury. Get your heart rate up by doing some brisk walking or even some gentle jogging if you are up for it.

2. Do not bounce or jerk your body when stretching and stretch only as far as comfortable. You should not feel any pain, just tension in the muscle you are stretching.

3. Start with lighter jobs first. Once you are warmed up and ready to start, don’t dive into the heavy garden work first. Start and end with the lighter jobs, this will prepare your body further before heavy work and help you cool down at the end.

4. When raking leaves draw the rake in the direction of your navel.

5. Kneel on one leg rather than bending down repeatedly from the hips and use a cushion to support your knee.

6. Try and keep your back hollow when digging, with the legs spaced apart.

7. Try and vary the tasks of the day into short bursts of different activities rather than slogging all day at one thing.

8. When mowing lawns with a hover mower try to resist the temptation to swing the mower from side to side in an arc. Instead, mow forwards and backwards as you would with a conventional cylinder mower.

9. Keep yourself warm and covered, i.e. keep shirts tucked in as this prevents the muscles becoming chilled.

10. If you ache the next day; rest and seek the advice of your chiropractor who will advise whether you should apply heat or icepacks to the area, or indeed require further treatment.

REMEMBER – You should exercise to keep fit so that you can enjoy your gardening rather than using your gardening to keep fit!

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