10 Tips for Preventing Back Pain with Yard Work

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Gardening and yard work can be a real pain in the back if you’re not careful. Follow these ten helpful tips from Easy Rest Adjustable Beds when working in the yard to avoid back pain that can keep you up at night.

Yard work gives woman back pain and causes sleep problems.

Avoid low back pain when gardening with these tips from Easy Rest Sleep Systems

The biggest mistake people make when working in the yard is not warming up their bodies prior to starting. It’s important to warm up your muscles to prepare for the repetitive movements and heavy lifting required for gardening tasks.

Do you work hard to make your yard the envy of your neighbors or are you a reluctant gardener just trying to maintain minimum standards of the neighborhood? No matter which type of homeowner you are one thing holds true - gardening and yard work can be a real pain!

One of the most common complaints following a few hours of yard work is lower back pain. Weeding, mowing, digging, raking, planting and mulching can wreck havoc on your back muscles, and if you’re not careful it’s easy to strain or pull the muscles in your back.

Dr. Brian Morrison, President & Clinical Director of Morrison Chiropractic and Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is very familiar with the back pains created by summer gardening. Every summer his practice sees an uptick in patients complaining of back pain from yard work.

“The biggest mistake people make when working in the yard is not warming up their bodies prior to starting,” says Dr. Morrison. “It’s important to warm up your muscles to prepare for the repetitive movements and heavy lifting required for gardening tasks. And, contrary to popular belief, old fashioned stretching exercises may not be effective or helpful,” he added.

Dr. Morrison recommends following these 10 tips for gardening to help you keep your back in good shape all summer long.

1.    Warm Up – Before beginning; take a few minutes to warm up your muscles by doing some dynamic warm up exercises. These include going for a brisk 5 – 10 minute walk around the yard, jumping jacks, walking lunges and arm circles.
2.    Hydrate – Muscles need water to function optimally. When you maintain your body's water levels during use, you allow your muscles to coordinate with each other properly and support your physical activity. Adequate water levels in your body can help prevent the onset of muscle cramps or spasms and help prevent dehydration.
3.    Mix It Up - Vary your gardening tasks each time. Do a little pruning work, raking, bending work, digging, etc. Don't continuously perform any particular activity for a long period.
4.    Mowing – Leaning forward as you push the lawn mower can strain your back. Be sure to maintain proper posture and push with your arms and legs instead of your back.
5.    Weeding – Bending over at the waist for prolonged periods is a sure way to cause your back muscles to start complaining. Kneel on a rubber gardening mat, sit on a wheeled gardening stool, or sit directly on the ground instead. Make sure you have all your tools close at hand.
6.    Lifting – When lifting bags of dirt, mulch or potted plants, keep your back straight and bend with your knees and hips (not your back) when reaching down. The power for your lift comes from your buttocks and legs. If you are picking up piles of grass, leaves or other yard waste, make the piles small to decrease the weight.
7.    Raking – Most people use the rake with their dominant hand only. This causes one side of your body to be overused. Try switching sides every few minutes, even though it will feel awkward. Your back, neck and arms will thank you.
8.    Wear Supportive Shoes – Yard work can put a lot of strain on your feet and legs. Good foot and arch support can stop some of that strain from reaching your back. Ditch the sandals and flip-flops and opt for a supportive pair of shoes instead.
9.    Take Breaks – Taking your time will make it less likely for injuries to occur. Pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion can cause you to get sloppy with good posture and lifting techniques, setting you up for injury.
10.    Outsource - Consider hiring a local student to do the heavy work that strains your back. Lots of young people can't find summer jobs and one may be more than willing to spend a few hours a week working for you. As an added bonus, you might just turn them into a gardener for life!

What can you do if you follow all of these tips and still wind up with low back pain? Dr. Morrison recommends conservative treatments including:

  •     Heat and/or ice treatments.
  •     Exercise, stretching techniques, chiropractic care or physical therapy to repair and strengthen muscles.
  •     Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and regular exercise.
  •     Propping pillows behind your back and under knees when resting to take pressure off of your lower back.

“As part of our new patient evaluation we discuss the importance of quality sleep to help the healing process,” commented Dr. Morrison. “If a patient is sleeping on an old or uncomfortable mattress we recommend they consider replacing it. People don’t realize that their mattress can be adding too, or causing, their lower back pain problems. We recommend Easy Rest Adjustable Beds to our patients because they help support the spine and allow the patient to find a position that is comfortable for them,” he added.

An adjustable bed like the ones available from Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems, may help with the symptoms of low back pain. People who rest and sleep in an adjustable bed, are able to find individualized positions to take the pressure off their back pain by easily adjusting the bed with a wireless remote control. Massage features may help back pain sufferers relax and fall asleep easier, allowing the body to work on repairing itself. Optional heat features allow users to add heat to their lower back without the need of additional heating pads.

About Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems

Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems founders have more than 100 years experience in the adjustable bed business. The company offers a modern line of high-quality, U.S.-made, electric, adjustable sleep systems and mattresses to fit every health and comfort requirement, budget or lifestyle. Easy Rest stands behind every product it sells, and through its centralized national customer service office provides consumers swift and efficient responses to any product questions or problems.

To learn more about Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems, including the health and comfort benefits of its full range of quality beds and mattresses as well as bed sizes, options and features, please visit http://www.easyrest.com or call 1-800-217-5206 today.

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