Spring is in bloom! No-pain gardening tips.
Spring is the season where people enjoy manicuring their lawns and tending their gardens in anticipation of enjoying fresh, homegrown produce and glorious flowers.
Gardening offers many benefits such as providing stress relief, an outlet for creativity and is an excellent activity to just get us moving. But just like any other form of physical activity, there are risks of injury.
As amateur and professional gardeners dig, bend over, rake, plant, reach, prune, hoe, lift, twist, move, carry debris and create gardening masterpieces, it’s important they protect themselves from potential hazards. If done improperly, gardening and yard work can lead to muscle and joint pain, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as well as other accidental injuries.
To help stay injury free throughout this gardening season, here are a few helpful tips!
To avoid/reduce injuries:
--Be sure to warm up/stretch as you would before any physical activity.
--Wear gardening gloves (to lower the risk of skin irritations/cuts and reduce blister formation) and use kneepads or use a foam cushion to make it more comfortable and less traumatic for knees.
--Dress to protect yourself from lawn/garden pests. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots and check yourself and family members for ticks.
--Wear goggles when doing things like weed-whacking and ear protection when using loud equipment.
--Protect yourself from the sun by covering up with long sleeves and pants made in breathable cotton, wear a hat and sunglasses, and if you use a sunscreen make sure it is as safe and natural as possible (for recommendations, visit the Environmental Working Group at http://www.ewg.org).
--Stay hydrated. Remember that you’re outside in the heat, working up a sweat and perspiring.
--Keep tools of the trade in tip-top shape by making sure your power equipment is working properly and your tools are sharpened and properly stored.
--Do not mow grass when it’s wet. Before mowing, walk around the yard, checking for sticks, stones, toys, and other foreign objects that could shoot out from under the mower.
To prevent and treat injuries:
Aches and pains don’t have to interfere with summer gardening when you practice prevention and follow activities/injuries with appropriate treatment protocol.
HOT AND COLD THERAPY: Hot and cold therapy, can shorten the duration of the recovery so the body heals faster and you feel better sooner.
--ICE is the first course of action, for the first 24 – 48 hours to help with inflammation. Ice therapy has an effect when the ice is REMOVED. Ice stops the blood flow, when removed it releases fluids and toxins, stimulates lymphatic and toxin draining and more blood flow. Basic procedures for ice therapy: 10 minutes on; 5 off; 10 on, 5 off.
--MOIST HEAT and ICE/HEAT: --HEAT: 48 – 72 hours after injury try using heat on the injured area. You’ll know it’s OK to continue if you don’t feel worse afterwards. Heat draws more blood to the area and removes toxins.
--ALTERNATING HOT AND COLD: Cold and heat can be very powerful when used together at this point. Protocol – takes about 45 minutes: --Start with HEAT for 10 minutes; followed by 5 minute break. Then COLD for 10 minutes, followed by 5-minute break, then HEAT again for 10 minutes.
NOTE: For severe pain and swelling, seek medical attention
SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Home Safety Council