Springtime is here and people are going out tending to their garden and working their lawn this season by getting plants in the ground, picking weeds, and cutting the grass. So with that in mind, it's to be aware of what to pay attention to when you're out there, especially if you haven't done that much since the end of last season.
1. Watch out for bending over for long periods of time.
Bending over for a long period if you're not used to it or trained for it can lead to straining your low back. A good thing to do would be to take breaks and sit up or stand up after 5-15min depending on your tolerance. Also, if you are working closer to the ground, getting on your knees can save your back a little more. To make it easier you can build up your tolerance of bending over with strengthening your lower back and torso to be able to do more. Building muscle takes time, but can help you do more in the yard.
2. Watch out for heavy lifting.
Heavy bags of mulch and soil, heavy equipment, and plants can lead to injury if you’re not careful. If you don’t lift for exercise, it would be good to use your legs more than your back to prevent injury or have a second person there to distribute the load. If you are 55 or older, be extra cautious with heavy lifting because of the propensity of compression fractures. I’m not saying every time you lift something you will get a compression fracture, but people over that age are more prone to it. They have less bone density and that deteriorates more the older they get. Now if someone has been lifting most of their life, they probably have higher bone density compared to someone who hasn’t, thus having a lower chance of a fracture.
Other people when they lift may be at risk to get a sprain or a strain. Sprains can be from the ligaments surrounding the back/hip area or even the disc itself, which is worse. The disc is worse because it does not get direct blood flow and relies on movement for nutrition. People that have had a sprain of their disc can tell you it's not easy to get moving again with an injury like that. That’s where chiropractic can help get that vertebra moving to help that disc to heal better. If you suspect a sprain, call your chiropractor for an appointment.
3. Watch out for over exertion
Along with the injuries explained above, sprains and strains are something anyone can get and are hard to avoid, even if you are doing everything “right” to prevent it. Strains heal a little quicker compared to sprains because of the amount of blood flow to specific tissue. These can heal on their own depending on the severity with time and proper exercises/treatment. A lot of time they will heal on their own, but not all the time. Chiropractors that we have at Short Chiropractic can do adjustments or spinal manipulation for the spine and/or what is called A.R.T. (Active Release Technique) which can help with sprain ligaments and strained muscles by stretching them in order to heal quicker and get you back in the yard.
It’s also important to avoid getting too hot in the sun. Watch the weather and try to do yard work in the cooler hours of the day when possible. Remember to keep water readily available to stay hydrated. Yard work is exercise and it’s important to replenish your body.
Gardening and lawn work is a great way to get outside to move around and get plenty of vitamin D from the sun. It can help relieve stress and sometimes give people a calm activity to do at their home. People can get a lot of benefit from doing these activities but it can unfortunately for some people lead to injury. Let us at Short Chiropractic get you back to health and doing what you love, moving outside, and doing outdoor activities.