Saturday, 21 April 2012

Garden Time - Prevent Gardener's Back Injury


  1. Here is some great advice from the McTimoney Chiropractic Association about looking after yourself in the garden. It tends to be a busy time for us chiropractors not only sprucing up and planting out our own gardens but helping those who have pulled up an awkward root, moved heavy pots, done too much one sided digging and so on.   I just love to hang from my apple tree and "walk" up the trunk immediately after a garden workout. Read on to see how you can prevent the need to see us!  Happy and fruitful gardening from Tracy, chiropractor at Rolls Mill.

    "It’s National Gardening Week this week and the McTimoney Chiropractic Association offers the following advice to all would-be and experienced gardeners.
    We all want to be out in our gardens now the days are longer and the sun is attempting to shine. However keen you are feeling to get digging and raking, you should take a little care to ensure that you don’t give yourself a back injury on your first day.
    • Take it steadily! Think of your garden as a gym and give yourself breaks every 15-20 minutes; also try to swap activities regularly so you don’t strain your back or joints. Make sure you warm up with gentler tasks first rather than getting stuck into heavy digging straight away.
    • You will find that if you take up a daily stretching programme you will notice a marked improvement in your movements. Stretching increases flexibility and strength, so digging, raking or weeding becomes easier as you increase your core strength. The MCA has a useful free leaflet which shows and describes a wide range of back exercises.
    • Use tools that are right for you! It sounds silly, but if you are using a spade which is too short, you will constantly be bending over it and are very likely to get stiff and become inflexible. The same applies to your lawnmower – find one that does not encourage you to swing it from side to side as this causes stress on your back and surrounding muscles. Test drive a few different types of each item before you buy to find the best fit for you.
    • Balance yourself by carrying two watering cans or two pots of roughly the same weight. Don’t heave large bags of compost, instead use your lifting barrow or wheelbarrow to move them. Pick items up with bent knees and a straight back.
    • When weeding, try and use a proper weeding pad. Some have raised side handles which you can use to help yourself up by using your legs/knees. Try not to over-reach into your flower beds and invest in a long-handled, lightweight hoe if you have wide flower beds. If you are kneeling, take regular breaks, get up carefully and have a stretch.
    • Try and design your garden with your back in mind. Raised beds and selected low maintenance plants are now popular with busy gardeners.
    • If you do have a potting shed or greenhouse, make sure that work benches are the correct height to avoid stooping.

    If you do inadvertently strain your back a few trips to your local McTimoney chiropractor should be able to help. The McTimoney technique is very precise and gentle and can used by gardeners of all abilities and ages. The McTimoney Chiropractic Association website has a ‘search a chiropractor’ facility to show you where to find your nearest chiropractor or do call our office on 01491 829211 if you would like a back care leaflet."

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