What to do to avoid gardening injuries this Spring
Without tempting fate, warmer months are approaching.
This means that many of us take to the garden to get it ready to enjoy in the summer. However, did you know that over 300,000 people are hurt in their gardens each year and around 90,000 are injured actively gardening or carrying out DIY jobs in the garden.
Sam Bloomfield, Mersea Road Osteopath comments; “At the clinic we see numerous gardening related injuries once spring arrives and the days get a little longer. Many people spend the whole weekend in the garden, working for far longer than they should. Come Monday morning they find themselves in a lot of pain including back, shoulder, elbow and knee pain. This is the point at which they call us for help. Often, if they were more aware and sensible in their approach to the gardening injury can be avoided.”
Here are some top tips to help you stay injury free this Spring in the garden:
- Avoid gardening at the hottest time of the day…aim to get most jobs done in the morning or late afternoon.
- Do some gentle stretching before you start gardening to warm up your muscles and joints.
- Be aware of any potential hazard areas such as loose paving slabs, tools, uneven surfaces and use surfaces that provide a good underfoot grip
- Always kneel down when planting by placing both knees on a knee pad or kneeler. If you do not own either, then simply use an old cushion or folded blanket.
- When digging, use a small spade to avoid picking up too much and therefore reducing strain on your back.
- When shovelling never twist your body. Instead get up and move from spot to spot and keep the shovel close to your body, your knees slightly bent, and scoop in a forward motion
- When digging or weeding get up and stretch every five minutes to avoid cramping
- Wear safety equipment - such as goggles, hard hats, gloves and steel toe capped boots when using machinery. Tuck in loose items of clothing.
- Avoid doing hours of repetitive movement by switching tasks
- When using a lawnmower, face the direction in which you are cutting the grass and push forward. Always avoid swinging the lawnmower from side to side.
- If picking up or putting down items, regardless of its weight or size, always bend your knees and keep your back straight. Always face the direction in which the item is to be carried in order to avoid twisting the spine.
- If you feel any discomfort, always stop what you are doing. Limit yourself to 30-40mins per day initially and then you can work up gradually.
If you are unsure about any job, call a professional.