It’s officially Spring here in Hampton Roads. With so much mulching and planting and weeding to be done it’s no surprise that more and more people are complaining about back pain and shoulder strain during this time of year. One of the most common sources of gardening pain is weeding. Even a single afternoon spent in a hunched position making vigorous movements can take a toll on your back. Here are some tips to minimize the risk of strain:
- Watch your posture!
Weeding and other gardening chores can fatigue even a strong back. To keep the strain our of your joints, and help you work more efficiently, focus on lifting from the legs and pelvis instead of the back. Learn how to and remember to use your lower extremities for the heavy work and you may well avoid injuries like muscle strain or a herniated disk.
- Experiment with positions.
Weeding is often a long and exhausting chore. Adjusting yourself to be most comfortable can help you avoid back pain and muscle strain. For instance, sitting on the ground, weeding on all fours, sitting on a stool, or standing may offer different relief to your back and joints. Try all of these positions to find the one most comfortable for your back.
- Consider gardening upgrades.
Working in a vegetable garden is hard work, but backyard upgrades like raised flower beds can make working outside a bit easier. The edge of a raised bed offer a convenient sitting and resting place in between vigorous weeding.
Gardeners who suffer from back pain should look into minimizing strain in the garden however possible. One way is by preventing weed growth with proper mulching, or techniques like solarization, which kill weeks in the soil and reduce weed germination.
If your neck or back pain doesn’t go away within a few days, you should consider visiting a doctor for an evaluation. The back pain experts at The Spine Center of Hampton Roads, part of Virginia Orthopaedics and Spine Specialists, can help.