Spring is here and many people are already out in the garden repairing the ravages of winter and getting ready for the summer. After a long winter of relative inactivity, it’s important to begin cautiously in the garden. Overdoing it in the first few days can lead to acute low back problems which will set back your gardening schedule for weeks, to say nothing of interfering with other activities.
The first thing to do before beginning any unaccustomed activity is to have a spinal check-up if you haven’t had one in a few months. Back problems come on gradually and a weakness may be present without your awareness. Suddenly beginning to bend, dig or weed can be the final straw leading to an acute episode of back pain.
Here are a few guidelines to make spring gardening a pain free chore:
See your family chiropractor for a spring tuneup.
Stretching exercises before gardening can help prevent problems.
Kneel to pull weeds, rather than bending. If weeds are stubborn, don’t yank on them. This strains the neck, upper back and shoulder. Loosen them with a trowel or garden fork and save yourself a lot of aches and pains.
When digging, try using alternate sides. It may be difficult at first to get used to holding the spade or fork on the opposite side, but it doesn’t take long to feel natural either way.
Approach any new gardening chore gradually. Do a little at a time, taking frequent breaks to relax or just walk around. Avoid the temptation to try to get everything done at once.
If you do injure your back, neck, or shoulders gardening, see your chiropractor right away. Prompt treatment can prevent a muscle pull or a minor twinge from becoming a chronic, long-term problem. With care at the beginning, you can enjoy gardening through summer and fall without paying for it with a painful back.