Doctors always know when spring has sprung. They start getting visits from gardeners – both young and old – who, getting back to work in the garden after the winter, have damaged their muscles.

The difficulties arise not just because of the sudden onset of activity in the cold and damp – but also because of the many opportunities that gardening offers for overstretching, bending too far for too long and lifting heavy loads.

Following these suggestions will help reduce the risk:

Before you start, stretch your muscles with a gentle warm-up.

Wear loose clothes and sturdy shoes or boots.

Choose your equipment carefully: lightweight, long-handled tools mean you don’t have to stretch arms and legs to the limit. Hover-mowers need particular care – don’t swing them around from your waist and keep as upright as possible, with the handle close to your body.

Overenthusiastic digging and weeding often cause damage .Don’t take huge spadefuls when you’re digging and keep your back as straight as you can. When weeding, kneel down as close as you

can to the bed. If you’re pulling out a deep-rooted plant, take the

strain on your arms and legs, not your back.

Some additional tips for gardeners from Dr Arthur Grayzel, senior vice-president for medical affairs of the Arthritis Foundation in America. He suggests:

Some people will feel more comfortable by not kneeling on the ground, but instead sitting on a small stool, so further reducing stress on the joints.

Use plant containers that are high off the ground – or small raised garden beds – to reduce stretching and bending.

Don’t work for long periods with a tool that you have to grasp firmly.

Divide your garden in several smaller areas and concentrate on one of these at a time to avoid overdoing things.

Don’t grip heavy loads with your fingers or arms, but carry them in your arms.

Look in your garden centre for tools specially made for people with arthritis – even if you’re not affected by this disease – as equipment designed for the arthritic will also often help prevent back strain.


Google Bookmarks Digg Reddit Ma.gnolia Technorati Slashdot Yahoo My Web

Random Posts

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 12:08 pm and is filed under Pain Relief-Muscle Relaxers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.