Typical Aches and Pains from Yard Work
The most common issue we hear about from yard work is back pain, followed by the less common problem areas such as knees and hands. It is no surprise that back pain is the biggest complaint given the repetitive tasks, sustained bending, frequent lifting and awkward positioning involved in this popular hobby. Though uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on the joy of cleaning up your yard or watching your garden bloom this summer. We’ve put together some strategies to keep you pain-free while doing yard work this Spring and Summer.
Safe lifting while doing yard work
A common cause of low back pain while doing yard work is poor lifting technique. Whether you’re lugging new plants in from your car or carrying bags of fertilizer all around the yard, your primary focus should be maintaining safe body mechanics. Here are five tips to keep your back safe while lifting outdoors:
- Start with a broad base of support– Stand with your feet at hip-width apart. Closer or further away makes you more unstable.
- Squat down, bending at hips and knees, and keeping your back long– Your safest posture is to keep your spine in a neutral position. Straight back, open chest, and shoulders back and down. Once you have established a stable base, lift slowly and avoid quick, jerky movements – Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine to support your lower back.
- Bring the load as close to your body as possible– Minimize the force required to lift or carry the object.
- Slowly begin straightening your legs– Remember that your leg muscles are more powerful than your back, so be sure to generate force with your lower body.
- Avoid twisting or turning at the waist while carrying something heavy or awkward– If you need to change direction, use your feet rather than rotating through your spine.