I hope that everyone is staying healthy during this unprecedented time with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions that are in place to manage the spread of the virus. It is getting to be that time of year when we are all anxious to get outside and clean up our yards and gardens and put out our patio furniture to get ready for the summer season. Now, more than ever, we are excited to get outside since many more people are working from home and have kids at home too. Thankfully, being outside is recommended as long as you keep the proper social distancing from others.
When you do start your yardwork and gardening, it is important to remember to pace yourself and use good body mechanics to avoid aggravating an old back injury or creating a new one.
1. Pace yourself.
It is tempting to get out there and just “get it all done” in one day. Most of our bodies haven’t done this type of work over the winter and can better tolerate the added yardwork and gardening if you dose out the workload over several days. Limit work to a few hours with breaks, instead of all day, especially if you have a history of back problems.
2. Use good body mechanics.
This means that you want to avoid bending and twisting your back with spring (and other) activities. In order to prevent your back from hurting, you need to use your legs with activities like lifting, raking, shoveling or similar tasks. Proper body mechanics keeps your back in a neutral position and decreases the stress on the joints and muscles of your spine. Good body mechanics uses the proper muscles in your legs and hips that are designed for heavier activities.
Your back will thank you for incorporating these body mechanics techniques for a safe and healthy spring. If you do experience back pain, physical therapy can help decrease the intensity of pain and eliminate your pain so you can enjoy the things that you like to do.
If you have any questions about this topic or have questions about how physical therapy can help your back or any other injuries, please contact me at email@example.com
Shari Walters, PT, OCS