Spring is that time of the year when gardeners ache to get in the garden to rake and plant. It is also a time of the year where many of them suffer from back pain and neck strain. As much as gardening may not seem as demanding as a gym circuit, it can weigh down on anyone, leading to musculoskeletal irritation, setting the stage for chronic pain.
Improper set up is one of the most blamed triggers for chronic pain among gardeners. Before starting to rake or dig, it is advisable to start off with proper shoulder, back, leg and neck stretches. Gardening for too long and failing to take breaks can also lead to discomfort. Repetitive movements tend to cause fatigue. When the joints are unevenly loaded, you open yourself up for injuries.
While gardening injuries can affect anyone of any age, they tend to be more common among people who are not careful on how they shift during the activity, those who do not exercise and those who have had previous back issues. If you have been exercising and are careful when gardening but still suffer from pain, it is likely that you might have an underlying musculoskeletal condition that needs the attention of one of our physiotherapists.
Why you Should not Bend your Back
There is risk to bending your back when gardening. Note; you place an extra load on the intervertebral discs when you do so. In the end, you expose your back to disc irritation. As soon as this is triggered, you are likely to suffer from severe pain, particularly if the fluid flowing from the disc comes into contact with the sciatic nerve.
If you use a muscle at the end of its range, it will eventually become overstretched, firing patterns may be experienced (eg cramps), leading to major strain on the muscles. Your muscles are conditioned to fire up when they reach a certain length. If they are compressed or become too long, they fail to respond as they should to allow you to change positions comfortably. Every five minutes or so, be sure to change positions in your activity to avoid prolonging static positioning. Staying in one position for too long also tends to add extra pressure on the tissues.
Every keen gardener knows that proper preparation during spring is key to achieving good results. The same is also true when it comes to spinal care. Learn to stay hydrated when you garden, take breaks and ask for help when necessary. More importantly, listen to your body. After your gardening activity, remember to stretch to reduce swelling, stiffness and soreness. Should you incur injuries while in your garden, physiotherapy is always the best first choice of treatment.
While gardening is an excellent way to stay active and keep your garden healthy and looking beautiful, it can result in painful injuries, meaning you need to be a little more careful whilst at it. If you have a spinal issue that limits your gardening exercise, get in touch with one of our certified physiotherapists so they can help you get your spine in order, so that you can enjoy your time in the garden. We hope that these tips can help you this spring season. Happy gardening!
For more information or to have a Free Phone Consultation to see if we can help you, give us a call on 9144 1510.