3 Tips to Protect Your Spine While Working in the Yard
The end of Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer: nice weather, cool breezes, sunny skies....and yard work! Here are three tips to protect your spine while working in the yard.
1. Garden properly -- Don't flex your back i.e bend incorrectly, while you garden. Instead, wear knee pads or kneel on a towel, or other padded item, to protect your knees. Kneel on one knee. Keep a neutral (straight) spine and use hip rotation (demonstrated in Dr. Zumstien's book) to lean forward. Switch knees every few minutes or less depending on your comfort. There isn't a set rule for how long you should kneel before switching knees. It's based on comfort. It's important to remember not to flex your spine and to keep your back neutral while you garden.
2. Properly push the lawnmower -- Research indicates the best way to push an object, such as a lawnmower, is with the force directed through your low back. The low back is qualified as the area between the bottom of your rib cage to the top of your pelvis. As a result, the handles of your lawnmower should be located within this low back region.
3. Use a wheelbarrow correctly -- To prevent injury, ensure you're lifting the wheelbarrow correctly: use a squat and rotate your hips forward. Do not flex (bend incorrectly) your spine. After properly lifting the wheelbarrow with your legs and not your back, push it with the force directed through your low back, as you would with the lawnmower. Finally, set down the wheelbarrow using a squat and hip roation again. Do not bend your back to lower it.