Plant and Rake – Without The Ache

Working in the garden is a wonderful way to stay active and enjoy the sunshine while beautifying your home. If you have a garden–but no gardener–chances are you’ll be spending some serious time outside over the next few months.

Gardening the right way

Even though gardening-related injuries are easily preventable, eighty-eight per cent of Ontario chiropractors report that gardening is the most common source of back and neck pain during the spring and summer months. At Ajax-Pickering Village Chiropractic, we’d have to agree.

Follow these three easy, common-sense steps and you’ll be able to rake, dig and plant without feeling sore for weeks afterwards.

1. S-t-r-e-t-c-h Before You Start 

Work on your overall conditioning first. Take a 10-15 minute walk, even if it’s on the spot. Remember to lift your knees and swing your arms gently. Stretch your sides, thighs, hamstrings, wrists, shoulders and back.

2. Bend Your Knees

  • Before lifting something heavy, position yourself close to the object.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your head up and make sure your feet and body are pointing in the same direction.
  • Use your leg and arm muscles to smoothly–and slowly–lift the load.
  • Don’t twist your body while carrying the load: pivot with your feet.
  • Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its destination.

3. Make the Right Moves
  • When you’re lifting, alternate between light and heavy loads.
  • Change hands and your position often. Kneel, stand, relax.
  • Avoid heavy lifting immediately after bending or kneeling.
  • When raking, put one leg in front, the other behind to ease the strain on your back. Switch legs and hands from time to time.
  • When planting or weeding, use knee pads or a kneeling mat to reduce the strain on your back. Take frequent breaks. 
And remember, if you experience back or neck pain that lasts more than two or three days, book an appointment with your chiropractor for an evaluation.