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Trouble in the Garden

By: Marcy Wright Reoch, BSc, RMT

Have you been out in the garden as much as I have? I am loving the sunshine and getting my vegetable raised beds along with my flower beds back into summer shape. I love this time a year it's so exciting but each night as the sun is setting I find myself hobbling into the house.
If you are like me, I tend to over do it a little because I want to get as much done because we never know when the next nice day might be. I forget that shoveling dirt, lifting heavy planters, bending over to pull weeds and lugging heavy yard waste to the curb can be very taxing on the body. So it is no wonder that my low back is killing me by the end of the day.
Things to try and remember while out digging around:
Make sure you are lifting with your legs and engaging through your abdominial muscles when you pick up those dirt and plant filled clay pots. This will help support and protect your low back from injury.
Instead of bending at the hips to pull weeds, try and get down on your knees closer to the dirt. (If kneeling hurts, you can buy a foam pad to kneel on or a little stool to sit on).
If you are dragging heavy bags full of sod, grass clippings, etc., try and make sure you are walking backwards and not twisting through your trunk which will put alot of stress through your low back. Also, just as you do for lifting, make sure you are using your legs and engaging through your core muscles.
If you are still hobbling in the house after trying out these suggestions, try jumping in a nice hot shower and having the hot water run over your low back for a few minutes or getting in the bath. The hot water will help sooth any cranky muscles as well as help prevent as much soreness the following day. After the shower/bath try these couple exercises:
Cat and Cow (Yoga pose) - Do 5 of each slowly focusing on moving your spine.
Hip Flexor stretch - Hold for 60 - 90 seconds on each side.