Gardening a pain in the neck and back, say specialists
June 13, 2008 – Eighty-eight per cent of Ontario chiropractors report that gardening is the most common source of back and neck pain during the warm weather season. The Ontario Chiropractic Association's Plant and Rake Without the Ache campaign aims to protect gardeners.
Eighty-eight per cent of Ontario chiropractors report that gardening is the most common source of back and neck pain during the warm weather season. The Ontario Chiropractic Association is re-launching a program called Plant and Rake Without the Ache campaign this year, complete with brochures and posters, to protect gardeners. Read on for tips to protect your employees and customers when they are out in garden patch.
"It's important to be active, and gardening is a wonderful activity that many people look forward to all winter," says Dr. Thomas Gadsby, president of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. "We really want to help gardeners avoid the stiff and sore joints, muscle, neck and back pain that sometimes accompanies work in the yard."
The OCA's Plant and Rake Without the Ache program offers expert advice and stretching tips to help gardeners stay active all season long. Also available are tip sheets that outline proper warm-up exercises, stretches, lifting techniques and injury prevention strategies in a simple, easy-to-follow format. The materials are available for download on the OCA website, www.chiropractic.on.ca.
The OCA offers the following warm-up tips for back smart gardening that you can share with employees and customers:
Stretch before you start: Warming-up your muscles with stretches before going into the garden helps to reduce the stress and strain on your joints and muscles, reducing the chance of injury.
Bend your knees to lift with ease: When lifting, keep your back straight and bend your knees. Always carry the load close to your body. Always pivot and avoid twisting.
The right tools, the right moves: Use the right tools and moves for the job. Kneel to plant and change positions frequently when raking, digging, hoeing or pruning. Use ergonomically designed, long handled, lightweight tools.
Take a break before it aches: As a rule-of-thumb, take a brief rest or stretch break at least three times each hour, and drink fluids frequently.