About this time every year, there’s an increase in chiropractor visits for low back pain after working in the yard or garden. Although I’m quite happy to relieve my patient’s pain, I thought I would share some tips that reduce the pressure on your back in the garden this summer.
1. You have hips and knees for a reason.
When reaching down or lifting, try to maximize your use of your hips and knees to get there. The more you squat and the less you bend forward at your spine, there’s less pressure put on your back. This is important, especially since you’ll be lifting repetitively or staying bent over weeding for a while.
2. Keep heavy loads close to your body.
When having to lift a heavy bag of mulch or potting soil, squat down to pick it up and hold it as close as possible to your abdomen. This keeps the weight evenly distributed in the strongest part of the body. If you have to turn or twist, try turning your whole body instead of twisting at the waist and letting that heavy bag get farther from your torso.
3. If you get sore, try some back extensions.
Even when you have the best posture, lifting technique and squat like a champ, it’s still possible for you to have back pain when you garden due to the long duration of the activity and the fact that you’ve been hibernating all winter. If you start getting sore, try standing back extension exercises. Just press your hands into your low back, just below your waistline and stretch your back into extension as far as you can. Repeat 15-20 times a few times an hour. If your pain gets worse or does not improve, give us a call at 224-653-8094. We’ll fix you up and get you back in the garden without pain ASAP!
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