By Sarah Katsaras, PT, MPT, OCS
Florida is the state of year round gardening. This is amazing when you love to garden. BUT there is a risk of gardening injuries when you spend lots of time working with your plants.
How Can You Get Hurt While Gardening?
The area most commonly injured during gardening is your low back or lumbar spine. The movements and tasks that are required to garden such as weeding, planting, and lifting bags of mulch and compost can put your low back at risk for injury.
Most gardening tasks require you to get down low or reach overhead to be at the level of plants that may need trimming, weeding or planting. These tasks are also done very repetitively which can lead to fatigue.
There are also times when gardening requires the use of tools for mowing, edging and blowing. These tools can be heavy and cumbersome.
The other factor that can lead to injury is the fact that most people work during the week and garden over the weekend. This can cause you to garden for a much longer period to try and get it all done at once which leads to injury from fatigue. To learn more about the proper way to strengthen your legs and body by squatting, please read: proper squat technique
Click here to learn more about Lifting and Bending Properly.
How Do You Avoid Injuries While Gardening?
In order to avoid gardening injury, you must ALWAYS be aware of your movement patterns and posture while gardening. If you start to feel pain in your back, then you need to rest or adjust your posture to protect your back. Most low back injuries are the result of using your spine to lift and twist improperly.
The low back can handle a lot or work but it needs to be in the proper position to function best. The muscles that support your spine are small and meant to keep that area stable. Your hips and legs have much larger muscles that are meant for bending, lifting and squatting. When you bend and lift, you should hinge or bend at the hip and try to keep your spine straight using your core, or deep abdominal muscles.
When you are doing a task in the yard, try to always keep your hips in a wide position and your feet to stay close to the area where you are working. Turn your whole body to face the area you are working so you do not have to twist your back.
To Learn More about Low Back Pain and Treatment, Click HERE.
What Do I Do If I Still Hurt After Gardening?
If you are careful with your movement patterns and posture while gardening but you still end up with muscle soreness in your back and legs then you probably just did too much at once. It is always helpful to use ice on your back for 15 minutes after gardening to decrease the soreness. If you stretch your back, hips and legs after gardening, it will also lead to less muscle soreness the next day.
To schedule physical therapy at a JOI Rehab Center, please call 904-858-7045.
If pain or an injury is keeping you from Gardening or anything else you love, JOI can help! To schedule an appointment, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule on line, or click the link below.