Center for Health & Wellness

Springing into Yard Work Pain Free

As the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, yard maintenance becomes a popular trend as do the aches and pains that come with it. Picking weeds, raking, shoveling, and mowing the lawn can all cause strain on the upper and lower back if they are not performed properly. It is really important to remember some key tips to keeping good posture while performing yard maintenance. For all of these activities you want to do as little bending through the core as possible. For example when picking weeds; try getting down on both knees (may use knee pads) and use one arm to support your upper body while keeping your stomach tight and your back straight, pulling weeds with the non-support hand. Also, try not to reach further than you can comfortably reach with one arm while keeping your upper body level. Stand up to stretch and take a 1-2 minute break every 15-20 minutes. While performing activities such as raking and shoveling, bend your knees slightly and stand with your feet in a staggered position (one in front of the other) pointing in the direction of whatever you are raking or shoveling. Your back hand (likely your dominant hand) should be towards the back end of the handle, while your front hand about 1-2 feet down the handle. Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at the hips using your arms and legs to push/pull. Avoid twisting motions. In addition, with the bipolar nature of the weather in the pacific northwest, one might feel urged to tackle their entire yard on the first sunny day. It is best to break-up projects and start out working only one hour the first day and gradually increase by one hour each day as you condition your body for these out of the ordinary activities. If misfortune should strike and you injure yourself, chiropractic care can help you return to pre-injury status. Chiropractic care can also prevent injuries so it would not be a bad idea to come in and ensure proper alignment before starting yard work. 

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