Be careful when engaging in spring gardening or yard activities. Before you rev up the lawnmower or reach for your rake this spring, consider the possible consequences: upper or lower-back strain, neck strain and pain in the shoulders.
The American Chiropractic Association offers the following tips to help prevent spinal problems:
· STRETCH (without bouncing)
o 10 to 15 minutes spread over the course of your work
o Knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked
o Take a short walk to stimulate circulation
o When finished with the yard work, repeat the stretching exercises
o Ask Dr. Krebsbach about a stretching program that is right for you
· Avoid the heat when possible. If you're a morning person, get the work done before 10 a.m. Otherwise, start after 6 p.m.
· Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you rake or mow.
· When raking, use a "scissors" stance: right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.
· When mowing, use your whole body weight to push the mower, rather than just your arms and back.
· If your mower has a pull cord, don't twist at the waist or yank the cord.
o Instead, bend at the knees and pull in one smooth motion.
· As you pick up piles of leaves or grass bend at the knees, not the waist.
o Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
· Try ergonomic tools, they're engineered to protect you when used properly.
o Drink lots of water (80 – 120 oz per day)
o Wear a hat, shoes, protective glasses and gloves to avoid blisters
o If your equipment is loud, wear hearing protection
o If you have asthma or allergies, wear a mask
· Visit Dr. Krebsbach to keep your spine looking as good as your yard/garden.