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Tips Before Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and that usually adds a whole list of tasks to your “honey-do” list. Gardening, planting, weeding, mowing, raking, all can cause stress on your body, especially your spine. While gardening can provide a great workout, your body may not be prepared for all of the bending, twisting, pulling, and reaching that is usually required to do yard work. After the long winter, if you haven’t kept active, your body may not be prepared for the sudden increase in activity, and this is where you can cause soft tissue damage, strains and sprains to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and wreak havoc on your spine.

Believe it or not, gardening requires a warm-up and cool-down period just like any other physical activity. It’s important to stretch before you venture out into your backyard. The arms, wrists, shoulders, back, and legs are all affected when you’re gardening, and simple stretches can prevent injury, pain and stiffness. Following are a few, key things to keep in mind before you pull out the gardening gloves and get to that “honey-do” list.

• Warm up your body and take time to stretch the muscles and prepare your body.
• Take your time. Pace yourself and do not rush through the work.
• Wear comfortable, slip-resistant shoes. Wear gloves to avoid blisters.
• Use cushioned pads while gardening to support your knees and improve your body position.
• When breaking ground with a shovel or hoe, moisten the soil first.
• Whether you are putting something down or picking it up, bend at the knees and not at the waist to reduce strain on the back.
• Keep equipment close. When shoveling or raking, keep the tool close to your body. Only shovel small amounts at a time.
• Try to avoid twisting at the waist and stand with feet shoulder length apart.
• Stay hydrated. Take breaks to ensure you’re getting your fluids in.

After you’re done with your yard work, be sure to call Cromwell Family Chiropractic for a spinal check up, and also treat yourself to a much deserved massage by one of our licensed massage therapists.