Spring is just around the corner! With that comes the return of gardening and spring yard maintenance. Orthopedic doctors in Benbrook TX (locations also in Bedford and Lewisville) happen to think that there’s nothing more therapeutic than gardening. However, for folks with chronic pain, it can be hard to enjoy this hobby without worrying about aggravating your condition. To that end, we put together this post on pain free gardening and yard maintenance; read on to learn more.
Common Yard Work Injuries
Gardening and yard work can often be more strenuous than we anticipate. Many times, patients will plan a whole weekend of seasonal clean up or gardening only to find themselves overworked and sore after just the first day. The most common areas associated with yardwork soreness or injury include the following:
- Low back
- General full-body joint and muscle pain
- Acute injuries related to falling or improper use of equipment
Take Time to Prepare Your Body
One of the simplest ways to prevent aggravating chronic pain symptoms while gardening or doing spring clean-up yard work is in preparation. It’s important to remember that a good warm up is key to avoiding strain or injury. Here are some of our top recommendations for warm up preparations before beginning your daily yard work.
- Do a general full-body stretch or yoga routine (keep a slight focus on limbs and spine)
- Take a quick 10-minute walk around your neighborhood
- Schedule a time to discuss proactive pain management with a member of your care team before spring gardening season arrives
- Be intentional about starting the day with a glass of water and staying hydrated throughout the day
- Invite a partner, friend or family member to join you in your yardwork so that you have extra hands “on deck” for challenging tasks
Ideally, patients should try to stay somewhat active year-round so that new seasonal hobbies don’t come as a shock to the system. Begin a daily walking and/or stretching routine several weeks before you hope to begin any big gardening projects. For more tips and tricks related directly to your chronic pain, schedule a time to meet with one of our Benbrook doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Bedford and Lewisville).
Remember Proper Body Mechanics
The term “body mechanics” refers to the position of your body while performing specific tasks. Proper body mechanics are specific positions and movements that decrease the chance of injury in any given activity. For example, one of the most well-known tips for lifting heavy items with proper body mechanics is to lift with your legs rather than your back.
When gardening, it’s important that you use proper body mechanics as much as possible. Many gardening tasks involve bending, twisting and lifting. Try to keep your back straight as often as possible. Avoid twisting while also bending or lifting. If you need to approach a task from a different angle, first change your footing or kneeling position and approach it straight on.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
Tools can be a major game changer when it comes to reducing strain and stress on your body while gardening. Some tools – like wheelbarrows – have been around for a long time and are still around because they truly do help. Don’t be afraid to give something new a try, though. Some of our top picks include the following:
- Raised beds
- A stand-up weed puller
- Knee pads or a foam-padded kneeler
- A wheelbarrow
- A lightweight stool
We know how important it is to enjoy hobbies like gardening without your chronic pain flaring up. Whether you are dealing with back pain, joint pain, migraines or other types of chronic pain, the Comprehensive Pain Institute has you covered! Come visit us at one of our three convenient Texas clinic locations (Benbrook, Bedford and Lewisville) to learn more about how we can help.