Manchester Osteopaths helping you in the garden
Manchester Osteopaths Helping you stay active in the garden..
By: Francis Connor
“With great weather comes many gardeners..”
Here at Manchester Osteopaths we see many enthusiastic gardens, we also see the “its sunny let blast the garden for a BBQ” people, We receive phone calls and bookings, even online bookings in the early early hours via the app and website because sleep simply wasn’t happening from the days work. Now while were in the business of injuries and commonly from gardening backpain, most gardening injuries can be prevented. So here are our top tips to keep you moving and keep you gardening.
1)Prepare- Gardening is a physical activity and like any other exercise requires your muscles to be warmed up before you start and stretched afterwards. A few mobility exercises for you body to loosen the shoulder, back and legs etc before you start will make life easier on your body. If you find yourself periodically leaning over for long periods digging or weeding etc take a break to loosen off to help prevent stiffness and the build up of residual tension.
2)Plan- It might be inviting to blitz the whole garden, however this is not the way to do it, plan what you want to do at the right kind of place, sunny weekends should be enjoyed without having the need to lie down on the couch through injury. Like going to the gym you wouldn’t fill your visit with 2 days of exercise classes or 3 games of football.
3)The right tools for the right job– If you find yourself doing a task on a regular basis get the most appropriate tool, it makes life easier on the body and less strain. I have seen people who have trimmed the lawn edge with scissors and come through the clinic door bent over.
4)Tidy up- Don’t let it pile up, move waste as you go along this ways it’s not a big task at the end, especially if you’ve been out all day and worked really to just finish and then see the mound of trimmings and garden rubbish, it’s horrible
5)Variety in your activity – Avoid hours of the same repetitive movements, your body does not like it, so vary your activity in the garden, no digging for 4 hours or weeding, again if you do find yourself getting stiff take a break to release the build up of residual tension and look to work another area of the garden.
6)Listen- Your body gives little clues when its struggling with the odd ouch and huff moving things, if you are getting these STOP and EVALUATE, listen to your body, pain is the bodies way of letting you know something is wrong, If you start feeling pain in your back while gardening- STOP, the lawn isn’t going anywhere. Try and avoid taking painkillers to carry on, the risk of injury is still there.
7)Posture- keep a check of how you do things from lifting pots to dragging bags of compost, it’s not always possible to have a perfect posture but it’s important to try and maintain one at all times, often it’s the little objects that get us as they are light, so there is the risk of leaning and twisting to do something and this really sets the foundation for something to “go” in the back. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if available or use lifting aids etc.
8)Listen to your back – If you start feeling pain in your back while gardening- STOP; the roses can wait. Pain is your back’s way of saying it is tired and therefore vulnerable to injury.
9)End of work- Like exercise there should be a time to cool down and stretch, a few simple mobility exercises to free the joints relieving the build up of tension followed with gentle stretching to help the joints and muscles, a hot bath can really be great to help unwind and relax, try to avoid the collapse into the sofa with a glass of wine or cool tin of lager.
Remember it’s common to feel aches and pains for a day or two after working the body, but they should go. If you continue to experience pain or discomfort give us a call it’s what we do.