Avoiding Back Pain While Doing Yard Work
It's that time of year again where most men make the migration from the couch to the yard. Yes, it’s time for yard work!
In the spring and summer time, yard work can be a common cause for back pain.
There are several things that all men should be aware of while working in the yard. Most activates in the yard can be stressful on the back and cause the dreaded BACK Pain.
- Poor posture while digging or raking can add stress on the lower back.
- The motion of the tractor or push lawnmower can irritate the discs of your spine!
- Frequent bending over to pull weeds can strain a muscles or damage discs.
- The possibilities are virtually endless.
So the question becomes …………
How do you Keep Your Spine in Shape for Yard Work?
Many of your activities in the yard consists of pushing, pulling and bending, all of which are tough on the back and spine. It is very important to prepare properly. These simple tips before you begin will help in preventing any damage to your spine.
- Try to avoid the heat of the day. The hottest part of the day is typically between 10 am and 6 pm. Try to get the work done before or after these times.
- Warm up by taking a short walk. I will very often walk around the yard to get an idea of what is happening to my grass or trees.
- Then some simple stretching exercises for 10 to 15 minutes spread over the course of your work. I will do these both before and after my yard work.
- Knee-to-chest pulls
- Trunk, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked.
4. Posture is vitally important, so stand as straight as possible. Avoid having your head down, try to keep your head up while you shovel or rake.
5. When raking, remember to stand up straight. (This is the number one rule for all activities) Position your feet so that your right foot forward and left foot back for a few while, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.
6. When picking things up, it’s very important that you hip hinge. This is done by bending at the knees and hips, not your spine. If you have to pick up piles of grass or other yard material. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
7. When mowing, remember to stand up straight, and use your whole body weight to push the mower, rather than just your arms and back.
8. If your mower requires you to pull a cord, don’t twist at the waist or yank the cord. Instead, bend at the knees and hips and pull in one smooth motion. Try to perform this activity with the hip hinge. Avoid the bending with the spine.
9. Drink lots of water.
10. When shoveling or gardening wth a hoe try ergonomic tools. They’re designed to protect your back when used properly.