We made it! We got through the winter months without any snow this year, and spring has sprung. Along with better weather comes all the yard work. Every year at Body Logic we see an uptick in injuries resulting from spring cleaning, both inside the home and outdoors. Lower back injuries are common, often resulting from bending over pulling weeds, lifting bags of debris, or shoveling and raking mulch. So-called “repetitive stress injuries” such as tendonitis often present themselves as a result of repetitious activities like pruning, trimming hedges, weed-whacking, and edging.
Why do these injuries occur so prevalently in the spring? Partially because, simply, we haven’t done these activities in several months. Our bodies adapt to the stressors we put on them. However, during the winter months there are no weeds to pull or grass to mow so our bodies become deconditioned. It’s hard on the body when suddenly those demands are placed on it again. One of the best things you can do to prevent injuries from spring cleaning is to take your time. All the work doesn’t have to be done in one weekend! Returning to yardwork and outdoor activities gradually gives your body time to adapt to the seasonal demands and then can tolerate more as time goes on. Doing too much too soon is an invitation for aggravation.
Treat your spring cleaning like exercise, because it is! It requires long periods of time on your feet, walking more than usual, and bending and turning and lifting in ways that we haven’t since we finished the yard work last fall. If you stopped going to the gym for 4-6 months you wouldn’t expect to be able to squat or bench press the same amount of weight your first day back at the gym. So ease back into the yard work also, and do the same recovery activities you would after a good workout too, like stretching, drinking more water, foam rolling, and resting.
What else can you do?
-Lift with your legs, not your back. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s also true. Squatting down to pick something up engages a lot of big muscle groups, whereas bending over at the waist puts an enormous strain on your lower back.
-Take a “drop step” and pivot instead of twisting at the waist, especially when holding anything remotely heavy.
-Ask for help. If you’re worried something might be too heavy or hard for you to do on your own, it probably is.
-Get adjusted regularly. Routine adjustments help to maintain proper joint mobility and muscle activation patterns, which will let you do the work with less strain on your body. Call us today to make your appointment! (757) 427-0355