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Don’t let Spring Yard Work Become a Pain in the Back

Ah, Spring!  It’s time to get out there and start digging in the dirt, right?

But before you do, we’d like you to take a moment to read this post, outlining some ways to protect your back while you’re out there digging.

Don’t let spring yard work become a pain in the back.  Instead, follow these guidelines and do your back a favor!

Get Stronger.  Stretch!

Now’s the time to strengthen your body and stretch your muscles.  We’re not suggesting you produce a beach body – just a stronger body.

Online, you’ll find a wealth of core and back strengthening exercises.  Search “body weight exercises” and discover moves like the plank and hip bridges, among many others.

A back that’s been conditioned to be strong and flexible can stand up to yard work, so prepare yourself, physically.

Check Your Posture

Your mom was right.  Being aware of your posture is key to back health.

When standing, ensure that your head is in a neutral position, your abdominal muscles are engaged and that your feet are shoulder width apart.

If you sit at work, it’s crucial that your chair include lumbar support.  If not, a supportive cushion will do the job.  In addition, getting up to move around is recommended at half hour intervals.

Slim Down

Nobody wants to hear it but bearing unnecessary weight is harmful to the integrity of your spine.  So, losing excess weight is one of the most effective ways to support spine health.

You love your garden and want to spend the Spring giving it the love it needs to flourish, so slim down by doing regular exercise and eating nutritiously.  Skip the chips.  Eat something healthy.

Your Knees Are Your Friends

Whatever you’re doing, gardening or moving a box to the hall closet, your knees are your friends.

So, bend them if bending from the waist, or lifting something even moderately heavy.  Your legs and knees are there to help your back and protect it.  Relying solely on the work of your back will get you hurt.

To support your knees, be sure to stretch your thighs.  Both the hamstrings (long muscles in the back) and quadriceps (long muscles in the front) can contract, causing you back pain.  These muscles also need to be kept strong to help your back out.

When coming to a standing position, pull in your abdominals, keeping your knees soft (slightly bent) until you have risen to a standing position.

Be Kind to Your Spine

Being kind to your spine, as you’ve just read, is a complex of good habits.  Maintaining a healthy weight by eating well and exercising is your ticket to a great gardening season, unhindered by back pain.  Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

And drink plenty of water.  Water is another part of the complex of spine care, so don’t just drink when you’re thirsty.  Stay hydrated!

Central Texas Spine Institute, under the leadership of award-winning spine surgeon, Dr. Randall Dryer, treats all conditions of the spine.  Contact us.