After being cooped up all winter we’re anxious to get outdoors and start our yard clean-up. We can’t wait to get into the garden, till the soil and prepare for planting. The sooner we get flowers and plants in the ground the sooner they grow and bloom. With this hurried activity the possibility occurs for injuries to the neck, back and extremities. What can we do to minimize spring cleanup injuries? This article provides suggestions for preparation prior to beginning yard and garden activities and tips to use while you’re working outdoors or if you should suffer an injury. Listen to the interview with Dr. James Brandt.
How to Minimize Injury
What should be done both prior to beginning and while you are doing your garden and yard work? Here are some suggestions:
- Start exercising the core muscles a few weeks before you actually begin your garden and yard work. Neck and back exercises should be done daily.
- The first day you work in your yard and garden begin with basic neck, shoulder, back and leg stretches.
- Plan your work day in segments of one hour for your various activities. Don’t rake and bag leaves all day long. Split up tasks with lighter activities in between periods of time for raking, mowing, tilling or planting. This variety will change the muscle activity and help reduce the repetition of just doing one task for a long period of time.
- Take care at the yard and garden shop when lifting bags of dirt, potting soil or fertilizer. Avoid standing with legs straight when bending into the trunk of the car. Lifting the bags out in front of you with legs locked may injure the neck and back muscles. Lift with good posture by keeping your knees bent and “nose and toes” in line. The reverse is true when taking the bags out of the car when you get home. Get help lifting if possible.
- Take a 10-15 minute break in between each activity. Drink plenty of water and take in nutrition for your body. Many people have sedentary jobs during the week. If conditioning and exercise have not been done prior to garden and yard work, the repetitive activities may precipitate the “week-end injury” that is seen frequently at Coon Rapids Chiropractic Office.
What if I Hurt Myself?
It’s generally a safe rule to apply ice for 15-20 minutes to the injured area every 2-3 hours. Avoid the activity that caused the injury. Make an appointment to get into the office as quickly as possible.
The earlier care begins for an injury, the less time it may take to resolve the problem. The doctors at Coon Rapids Chiropractic Office have experience in caring for the week-end yard and garden injury.