Originally posted by our friends at www.backpainrelief.net
Spring is a time for buying flowers, planting gardens and engaging in all the fun outdoor activities you missed during the winter months. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when you have a higher risk of injuring your lower back. Muscle and tendon strains or sprains, herniated discs, nerve entrapment and even fractures can occur or develop from our spring misadventures.
Gardening and yard work are responsible for many spring back injuries because of the physical demands they place on the spine and surrounding tissues. Carrying and using heavy garden tools often requires a great deal of effort and strength, and it’s easy to overdo it. If you’re not in good physical shape to start with, injuries are more likely to occur when you lift heavy objects like large plants, garden statues or concrete blocks. The motion required to swing a sledgehammer or string trimmer can pull muscles and tendons easily, and any type of sudden strain on a weakened spine can lead to serious problems. Even bending over in your garden for long periods can lead to painful injuries.
Even if you prefer to let someone else do the yard work while you focus on the spring housecleaning, you could still get your lower back into trouble. Lifting and pulling heavy furniture or spending time in awkward positions on ladders, step-stools or even floors can also strain your back. Another way you can fall victim to a spring back injury is through your favorite outdoor activities and sports. This is especially true if you have been a couch potato all winter, and your muscles are not as enthusiastic about getting back to playing tennis as your brain is.
When it’s time to work on your landscaping, try to keep a few safety tips in mind to help protect your lower back. Lift properly; bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep objects close to your body when lifting. Instead of bending over for long periods, sit or squat for weeding and planting tasks. Gardening seats can make the work easier. Pull with your arms and legs instead of your back, and avoid twisting motions when doing strenuous work. Use a wheelbarrow to carry heavy loads, and manage leaves, soil or debris in smaller piles.
Be sure that you feel comfortable while you work. Discomfort or frustration can cause you to tense your muscles or work faster and harder than your back can handle. Take frequent breaks, and rest when you feel tired. Stay cool and hydrated. Do not continue to work if you develop pain.
Moderate pain due to simple muscle strain can usually be treated at home for about two weeks before there is any cause for concern. After an injury occurs, rest for several days, but return to normal activity as soon as possible. Extended rest can actually interfere with the healing of minor injuries. If you experience severe pain that lasts more than 24 hours or interferes with your ability to sleep, stand, walk or sit comfortably, consult your physician for an evaluation.
If you have lower back pain along with weakness, numbness, tingling in the arms or legs, loss of bladder or bowel control or other unusual symptoms, get medical assistance immediately. Don’t delay in getting help if at-home measures aren’t working. There are treatment options available for all types of back injuries. Besides, spring will be over before you know it, and you don’t want to miss all the fun because of nagging back pain.
Author Profile: Jamie Arnold is a staff writer & content editor for www.backpainrelief.net. Jamie is also a yoga enthusiast, animal lover and avid traveler who loves to blog about health, fitness, and back pain relief.