Every Spring and Summer we get many patients who come in because of gardening. What seems like such a low impact is actually fairly intense. Most of the problems we see can be prevented with some easy strategies. So the next time you are going to go outside and enjoy working on your garden try the following. We got these tips from massage therapist Brian Fulton.
- Avoid doing any one task for long, uninterrupted periods. If you must do only one task, take frequent rests and alternate between using your right side and left side.
- Vary your tasks. For example turn soil for a while, and then do some planting, weeding or lawn maintenance. Remember, variety is the cornerstone of ergonomics.
- When you rake, do the scissors. Stand with your right leg forward and your left leg back, then switch every few minutes. This will keep you from bending and twisting your back. Change hands frequently. This prevents muscle strain on one side of the body.
- Use long-handed tools. These implements let you avoid bending forward and sideways as you work.
- Wider handles (1 1/2 inches in diameter) reduce hand strain for most people.
- You can purchase cushiony, textured grips to slip over many garden utensils. These require less grip effort on your part and reduce contact pressures on your hands.
- When you work, keep your wrist as close as possible to its neutral position, the position it’s in when you’re not using your hand. If your wrist is bent in any other direction, you have less strength and are more prone to injury.
- Preferred work positions include sitting on a pad (or stool), or having one knee on the ground (alternating knees regularly).
- If you must kneel, use a kneeling pad, strap-on kneepads, or pants with padded knees.
- One product to aid you in sitting/kneeling is The Gardener’s Kneeler available at Canadian Tire stores. It has a seat on one surface but becomes a padded kneeling support if flipped over.
- Use a dolly or wheelbarrow for hauling heavy objects, bagged materials or landscaping items. Always load materials toward the front of the wheelbarrow, using your legs to lift.
If you did hurt yourself gardening or if you any sort of pain or condition that is preventing you from doing what you love, click the get started button below. We offer a free consultation where we discuss your case and find out if we can help you. If we think we can we’ll let you know, if we can’t we’ll tell you that too.