By: Janet Penny, RMT.
How you can you tell a truly dedicated gardener? A beautiful flower garden or productive vegetable patch are the usual signs.
The other sure sign is that even when living with cancer or helping a loved one who is undergoing treatment, gardeners can’t keep away from the dirt.
Through the fatigue and worry is the desire to create something beautiful.
The hard work can take its toll.
Leaning, torquing to the right or left and lifting are the perfect recipe to strain the low back. This part of the body likes things done a certain way and if you don’t oblige, it lets you know. Pain and muscle spasm in the hips and low back can be so severe that they force inactivity, a state that no gardener wants to even consider.
Weeding, cutting and planting require a hunched over position and repetitive use of the muscles of the forearms and hands. The resulting strain typically shows up in the elbows, wrists and fingers.
Maintenance and prevention are the keys to maintaining a body that can handle the demands of gardening. Take a few moments to:
Stretch your muscles. If you have spent a few hours bent forward, bend backwards to lengthen the contracted muscles
A hot bath at the end of the day can soften muscles and prepare you for the next round of gardening.
Massage addresses overworked muscles to prevent strain and pain from settling in.
A little attention to your body early in the season can keep it tuned up and ready to work.
Enjoy your garden!