Pain Free Gardening and Yard Work

May 29th, 2014

Spring is in full swing which means that you may be getting back into tending to your back yard garden or taking on landscaping projects. I’ll provide you with a few tips to keep yourself out of pain while trying your hand at taming mother nature.

Warm up – Doing a little bit of stretching or moving before you get down and dirty is a quick way to reduce your risk for injury. I would recommend taking 5 minutes to do some jumping jacks, toe touches, push-ups and squats to get your body set for work.

Keep your work close – You are most likely to injure yourself when either bending down to work or reaching out to grab something, so make sure to stay close to anything you’re working on or with. Using tools with long handles that allow you to stand will help prevent you from having to bend over or kneel for prolonged periods of times which can lead to injury.

If you have trouble bending over, you can also raise your planters or plant things in pots so that they can be placed on shelves to make them easily accessible.

Suit up – The proper attire can go a long way in protecting you from cuts, scrapes, burns, bites, stings, and a whole host of other things so be sure to dress appropriately and keep anything covered that you don’t want exposed to potential injury.

I highly recommend having a sturdy pair of work gloves and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Speaking of the sun…

Wear sunscreen – The sun can be harmful/damaging at this altitude especially. Make sure to apply an ounce of sunscreen (about enough to fill a shot glass) at least a half an hour before going outside to work in the sun in order to give it time to absorb into your skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours to maintain its effectiveness, and those that are water-resistant are best suited for a day in the yard.

Take breaks – Make sure to rest for 5-10 minutes each hour you are out working. Take that time to sit in the shade to cool off and rehydrate by drinking water. Doing this will help you avoid exhaustion and heat stroke.

Ask for help – If you are tackling large tasks that require a lot of repetitive motion, lifting of heavy or awkward objects, or a big time commitment, it is best to share the work load.

Those are the best tips that come to mind. If you’re going to be doing a lot of kneeling, try to find a kneeling pad or individual knee pads to wear as you can injure the joints by putting to much stress on them. Be sure to do some cool down stretching and ice any areas that are sore within 30/45 minutes after activity.

If you do happen to hurt yourself despite this advice then I am always here to help. If you’d like any more specific thoughts on what stretches and things to do, be sure to ask at your next appointment!