Spring has sprung and it is time to pull those weeds to get your gardens and your lawns in tip-top shape. Picture this. You spend two to three hours pulling weeds, mulching, etc… and you go sit down to relax for a little bit. Then you try to get up and your back is in excruciating pain and you cannot get up out of the chair. Believe it or not, this is very common and happens more frequently than you would think. The main problem in this scenario is that our bodies may not be ready to perform these tasks at that specific time, and it is usually too much for people to start with.
So here are some tips to ensure that you do not end up in this category.

1. The most common reason for someone to have increased pain following gardening is poor form
-People tend to bend at their back to reach the ground that increases the stress on their lower back and increases pain following completion of their tasks.

-Instead you should bend at your knees or get into a half-kneeling position in order to decrease the stress on your back.

-Keep a chair or stool next to you if you have a hard time getting up off the ground, this will allow you to get up with the help of your arms.

2. Take rest breaks.

-2-3 hours of any sustained activity will likely lead to soreness and increased pain especially if it is performing and unaccustomed activity.

-Taking breaks every 20-30 minutes will allow your body to recover in order to reduce the risk of straining your lower back.

3. Performing dynamic stretching prior to your gardening task in order to loosen up the muscles and wake them up to support your lower back prior to the task.

-Performing dynamic warm-up exercises of your lower back musculature and legs helps decrease the stress on your lower back and improves your endurance of activity.

4. Finally, perform light activities such as walking or light bike riding following your gardening activities as a cool down to decrease the risk of your back locking up and increasing your pain.

If you have any questions or you would like any more information regarding if it is safe for you to get ahead of your lawn/garden revival then give us a call at John Goetze Physical Therapy.