Yard signs of pain
Some see beautiful fall foliage. Others see leaves ready for raking. Unfortunately, you might suffer more than the loss of time. One of the most common complaints following a few hours of yard work is lower back pain. If you’re not careful, the repetitive and unnatural motions that come from raking, weeding, mowing, digging, planting, and mulching can wreak havoc on your back muscles.
Lower back pain is particularly common because the lumbar spine is both extremely flexible and tasked with supporting most of the body’s weight. This combination makes it easy to injure. The good news is that the majority of back aches and pains heal on their own or only require minimal treatment. However, if you’re someone who feels the strain long after you’ve finished in the yard, you should consider these tips:
Warm Up Take a few minutes to do some dynamic exercises such as a brisk 5 – 10 minute walk, jumping jacks, walking lunges, and arm circles.
Hydrate Maintaining your body’s water levels helps prevent muscle cramps or spasms and dehydration.
Mix It Up Vary your tasks each time and don’t continuously perform any particular activity for a long period.
Use Correct Form Bend at the knees and hips and push with your arms and legs. Periodically switch to your non-dominant hand so that you’re not overusing one side of your body.
Wear Supportive Shoes Good foot and arch support can stop some strain from reaching your back.
Take Breaks Taking your time will make it less likely for injuries to occur from sloppy posture and lifting techniques.
Cool Down Walk around the yard to review all your hard work and end with some easy stretching to reduce stiffness and soreness.
Most importantly pay attention to your body while you’re doing the work. If something doesn’t feel right, stop and figure out what could be the source and solution to your discomfort.
While you don’t want to feel pain during any season, fall can be especially rough because you begin slowing down activity as the weather cools off. You’ll become more aware of strains on your body during the winter because you’re not moving around as much.
If you are experiencing prolonged back pain, contact your doctor to discuss treatment such as heat and ice therapy, physical therapy, or anti-inflammatory medication. More serious treatment would require consultation with an experienced pain management specialist.