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Prevent Back Pain While Doing Yard Work

Man mowing the lawn

10 Ways to Prevent Back Pain During Summer Yard Work

Love it or hate it, yard work can't be avoided during the summer months. Mowing, weeding, trimming, and mulching keeps your yard looking its best. But maintaining your yard isn't without its dangers. These 10 tips can help you avoid nagging back pain or injuries this summer.

Warm-Up

Keep your muscles and joints flexible by performing a few warm-up exercises before you begin working. Lunges, jumping jacks, stretches, or even a few laps around the yard get your blood flowing, relax your muscles, and improve flexibility along with range of motion.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Your feet support the weight of your entire body and help keep your bones and joints properly aligned and balanced. Wearing worn-out or unsupportive shoes while you mow or complete other yard work may increase your risk of back pain.

For safety's sake, wear closed shoes that provide adequate support for your arches. If you have flat feet or another foot issue, you may benefit from wearing orthotics in your shoes. The custom shoe inserts add arch support, keep your feet properly aligned in your shoes and absorb shock.

Flip flops and sandals aren't good choices for yard work. Even if you choose styles that offer arch support, you may be more likely to slip or fall if your lawn, deck, patio, or walkways are wet.

Don't Put Your Back Into It

Poor lifting techniques can lead to stressed or strained back muscles. Before you attempt to lift a bag of mulch or move a heavy flower pot, place your feet about 18" apart to improve stability. Bending your knees when you lift reduces stress on your back. As you pick up the object, hold it close to your body, and use the muscles in your legs, not your back, to lift.

Know Your Limitations

You may be able to lift those large paving stones by yourself, but should you? If you know you'll struggle to carry objects even a few feet, it's best to ask for help. Although you may not notice any immediate problems, soreness and pain can set in just a few hours later.

Back pain should never be ignored, as it can become a chronic condition. Twenty percent of people who experience acute (sudden) pain develop chronic back pain after 12 months, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Stores Bags of Topsoil and Mulch in a Dry Location

Rain-soaked bags of mulch or topsoil become much heavier and difficult to move. Keep the bags in a covered area to prevent them from becoming soaked by rain or your sprinkler system.

Let Your Equipment Handle the Heavy Work

Rearranging the potted plants on your deck, patio, or porch is much easier when you place the plants on rolling plant stands. Use a dolly, wheelbarrow, or a tractor to move heavier items.

Upgrade Your Mower

Mowing your lawn not only keeps grassy areas presentable but also qualifies as aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, pushing the mower may cause muscle tension, stiffness, or back spasms. If mowing leaves you in pain, consider switching to a self-propelled or riding mower.

Alternate Hands

Most people primarily use their dominant hands when using garden tools. Digging or raking with your right hand for hours may stress the right side of your body and cause back pain. Avoid a backache by alternating hands occasionally.

Bend and Stretch

You're more likely to suffer from muscle or joint pain if you remain in one position too long. Hunching over to weed the flower bed or stain the deck can cause aches and pains in your back and neck. Stand and stretch every 20 minutes to work out the kinks.

Visit Your Chiropractor

Regular visits to your chiropractor can help you avoid back pain. Even minor imbalances in your spine can increase your risk of pain. When your vertebrae aren't properly aligned, muscle tension may increase. Tight muscles are more likely to become injured during heavy lifting or tasks that require repetitive movements.

Spinal manipulation, massage, soft tissue mobilization, and other therapies improve spinal alignment, correct imbalances, and relieve tight muscles, reducing your risk of back pain when you work in your yard.

Does your yard look beautiful but your back hurts? Chiropractic treatment can help ease your painful symptoms.

Sources:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Materials Handling: Heavy Lifting

Chiropractic Economics: Understand the Relationship Between Low Back Pain and the Feet, 10/14/16

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Low Back Pain Fact Sheet

Spine Health: 6 Tips to Protect Your Lower Back

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  • "Dr. Clark and the staff here are amazing. They are super friendly and thorough. I would highly recommend this practice!"
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    Emily S.
  • "I love it here! Everyone is extremely polite and helpful. I see Doctor Porter II and he’s been a lifesaver. He’s made room for me on his schedule multiple times when I’ve been randomly hit with a chronic migraine. He genuinely takes his time and cares about his patients. I’m really thankful for the friends that recommended me to this place and I highly recommend everyone else comes here as well."
    Alexandria V.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Porter for more than 20 years. He has helped me maintain a strong immune system and to live without pain. I trust him more than any medical doctor or specialist with my health and well-being."
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  • "Dr. Cara and the staff at Porter & Clark Chiropractic are wonderful! The adjustments, heat and massage have healed my aches and pains (slight and severe) over the last several years. I would highly recommend Dr. Cara to anyone needing Chiropractic care."
    Chris T.
  • "The staff, they make this place amazing. If you need an adjustment or a massage check everyone out. The staff are helpful in finding you the type of therapist you need for your massage, and each doctor is pretty amazing, in their quality of care and concern for you as a client while you are on their tables."
    Adam I-L
  • "Been coming here for 11 years now... I feel immediate relaxation after adjustments and 9 out of 10 times my back pain has subsided. Some days I'm so bad I call to make an appointment and they get me in the office same day!! I can't say enough about Dr. Porter and the staff in general."
    Brandon L.
  • "I love this place! Dr. Clark has taken care of my chronic pain for years! No other treatments have been nearly as effective. A bonus is that the staff is always so friendly and helpful!!"
    Mary B.
  • "Dr. Porter has been treating me with an ongoing problem for years. I starting going to him after I could not get relief from my family physician. Through his treatments and a vitamin regimen, I don't need pain meds & feel so much better."
    Review from healthgrades.com
  • "The doctors and all the staff are excellent!"
    Tanya W.
  • "I am no longer in pain under Dr. Cara Phillips' care! Staff is always very friendly and greet you when you walk in. My first appointment they took xrays and did an evaluation. I now go to be adjusted monthly. They also offer heat therapy and a massage before being adjusted."
    Maggie J.
  • "With his gift for healing, and his expertise with NRT (Nutritional Response Testing), Dr. Porter has saved my life! I am off prescription medications and no longer suffer from chronic lower GI pain and problems."
    Charles K.
  • "Dr. Michael Porter II has taken care of me since I was in an auto accident last year, and monthly visits keep me out of pain. The office is a welcoming place, and patient care is clearly their priority. Highly recommended."
    Adam W.
  • "Dr. Clark has the best practice on the planet. Great individual time and attention. Chiropractors and massage therapists truly concerned about your health. Pleasant office atmosphere."
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