Healthy Gardening

Along with spring and summer’s warmer weather brings the pleasurable and laborious activities of yard and garden work. Many Albertans’ are eager to get started and finished after the long winters we experience. Something you should keep in mind however, is that as simple as the work may seem, it is still exercise and our bodies are not usually ready to undergo long hours of this physical labor. One of the most common complaints after a gardening session is back pain. This pain and achiness can be felt in the neck, shoulders, low back or pelvis. Often it is caused by overexertion and repetitive strain. These injuries are commonly the response of inflammation and irritation to the muscles and connective tissues around the spine.
Spinal and pelvic misalignment can also occur with these injuries. With a mild injury the body will usually heal within 48-72 hours, however with more moderate and severe conditions you may suffer with muscle strain and spasms, and possible nerve irritation which can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks or longer. But the good news is chiropractic care can reduce this healing time significantly. The chiropractic doctors at Optimum Wellness Centres take pride in assessing each individual to create a diagnosis and treatment plan specific to the patient’s unique needs. Treatments can vary greatly depending on the type and source of pain. If a treatable source of pain is identified then the underlying cause can be addressed. If the underlying cause is not specifically identifiable or amenable to care then the symptoms can be treated. The goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation and pain, increase function and to improve quality of life so you can get back into your yard and garden quickly! And don’t forget that chiropractic care can also treat other ailments you may not associate with our profession. Wrist, hand and knee pain and injuries are also common complaints of gardening, many of which can also have significant relief with chiropractic care.

Here are a few helpful hints to reduce or prevent a gardening injury:

  • Get your body in shape, start a light walking and strengthening program (always consult a professional if uncertain regarding guidelines)
  • Warm up and stretch before doing any yard or garden work
  • Use your legs to do lifting, bend at the knees and keep your back straight, keep the objects close to your body. Work within your strength and endurance. Safe lifting loads according to Occupational Health Standards should not exceed 64 pounds for men and 28 pounds for women
  • Use the right tools. Use pads or a padded kneeling stool for work close to the ground Change activities continuously to avoid repetitive stress and strain
  • Stay hydrated, drink lots of water before and during your work, your muscles will thank you!
  • Ice is a great way to self soothe inflammation after long hours of work. Keep it on the area for 20-30 minutes for best results
  • Have a chiropractic treatment before you start to ensure you have optimal body mechanics to handle the stress and loads of the work ahead!

Even with the best preparation injuries can still occur, hopefully though with these tips in mind you will find your gardening season full of pleasure and no pain, but if not please come see one of the chiropractic doctors at Optimum Wellness Centres to help guide your body back to a state of optimal functioning.

Dr. Gena Boris, Chiropractor
Gena works at our West Hills location