Spring is a great time of year, the weather is warming, the days are longer, flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. All of this makes it a fantastic time to spend more time in the garden. One thing we notice during spring at Blackburn Osteopathy is the amount of gardening related injuries we are treating.

These are a few of the common gardening injuries we see and how to avoid them.

Low back pain – lifting bags of potting mix, shifting pot plants, digging and  pushing lawn mowers are all activities we see leading to low back pain. There are ways to minimise the risk. When lifting or moving heavy objects, keep the load close to you, point your feet and shoulders in the same direction and aim to keep your back straight by bending from the hips. There is no shame in asking for help, lifting something with another person halves the load and now your gardening has become a social activity.

Knee pain – kneeling and squatting are both positions we see leading to knee pain. Using a kneeling pad or “garden kneeler” can decrease the pressure on your knees and also help you get up from the kneeling position.

Wrist and elbow pain – pruning for long periods can easily lead to a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in the wrist or elbow. Using the appropriate tool for the job is important in minimising the strain placed on the wrist and elbow. Keeping the wrists in a neutral position is important in minimising load on the tendons and muscles working over the wrist and elbow.

Neck pain – prolonged looking up or down can both cause neck pain. Finding a position to work in that minimises looking up or down for long periods will help in avoiding neck pain. This might require you elevate or lower your position.

A few tips that will help reduce the overall risk of injury. Take breaks, this will let your body rest and recover. Use the appropriate equipment, this will reduce the stresses placed on your body and make gardening easier. Enjoy yourself, studies have shown we have poor lifting technique when stressed.

You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon having not run for months, so look after yourself and build into gardening season. If you do happen to injure yourself gardening, come see us at Blackburn Osteopathy and we will help get you back into the garden.