Enjoy pain-free gardening – Times News Online
Posted on April 27, 2022 at 10:41 a.m.
Even though it is not a high impact activity, gardening can still lead to injury. Tasks like weeding, mulching, raking and pushing a wheelbarrow can put stress and strain on your joints and muscles.
However, the good news is that you can protect yourself.
Physiatrists Chirag Kalola, MD, with Lehigh Valley Physician Group Physiatry–Hausman Road, and Steven Mazza, MD, with LVPG Physiatry–Independence Road, have some tips for avoiding gardening injuries.
First gardening tip: Warm up and cool down
As with any activity, it’s important to warm up your muscles before you start working in your garden.
“Even a brisk walk of five to 10 minutes can help relax your muscles,” says Kalola. “Spinal stretches are also beneficial because gardening involves a lot of bending.”
It’s also important to cool off after you’ve finished gardening. Kalola suggests a slight backward bend to relieve the strain of forward bending associated with a short walk.
Second gardening tip: change position
According to Mazza, one of the best ways to avoid muscle strain is to change positions frequently.
“It’s common to kneel or lean forward in awkward positions while you garden,” Mazza explains. “Make sure you get up or change positions every five minutes or so. If you start to feel pain, take a break and stretch or move on to something else that requires a different position.
Gardening Tip Three: Use Cushions for Kneeling
Because gardening requires a lot of kneeling, you might want to invest in a good kneeling pad. This will help protect your knees and lower back by providing adequate support and reducing stress on the joints.
Fourth Gardening Tip: Use the Right Body Mechanics
To protect your back when pulling weeds, you should bend your knees, keep your abs tight, and make sure your spine is straight when lifting or pulling.
Avoid twisting and make sure you take your foot and place it in the same direction as your eyes. This will help you avoid twisting the knee.
Fifth gardening tip: use a wheelbarrow
Don’t put excessive pressure on your back. If you are going to be moving large loads of soil or mulch, use a wheelbarrow. Make sure to keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
Gardening Tip Six: Stay Hydrated
It is very important to stay hydrated while gardening. Be sure to take a bottle of water with you and drink it frequently.
If you feel pain while gardening, don’t be afraid to stop what you’re doing and take a break.
If the pain persists, you should call your doctor for an appointment.
Depending on your condition and symptoms, he or she may recommend that you see a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry) for further evaluation and treatment.
To learn more about the physiatry services offered by the Lehigh Valley Health Network, visit LVHN.org/physiatry.
Gardening can be fun, but it’s also important to make sure you don’t overexert yourself. METROGRAPHY