By Dr. Jonathan Schaller
Yard work requires a lot more twisting, bending and pulling than you might think. The following tips can help to minimize back, neck and shoulder strain this spring, whether you're pruning prized rose bushes or raking the lawn out.
• Gently stretch 10-15 minutes while breathing deeply before working in your yard. Spending a few moments to loosen tight muscles can significantly reduce the risk of muscle and tendon injuries.
• Think like a sunflower, standing straight and keeping your head up while raking or mowing. When using a lawn mower, use your entire body weight to push the mower forward, and not just your arms.
• Remember to take frequent breaks to stretch and stay hydrated. Drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water a day is recommended; more if you exercise.
• If you feel stiffness in your neck, back or shoulders apply ice for up to 20 minutes. Allow the area to rest for an hour before re-applying ice.
If there is no improvement within 48 hours or you're experiencing more than minor stiffness, see your chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic specialize in treating the types of injuries common to gardeners and landscapers.
Jonathan Schaller is a Doctor of Chiropractic practicing at Hamilton Chiropractic Health Center. Please address questions for him to: 23 Broad St. Hamilton, NY 13346 or call (315) 824.2504.