This time of year has people outside doing yardwork, preparing their gardens, and doing all kinds of physical activities. Every week at work, people come into our clinic and tell me how their injury symptoms were aggravated over the weekend by gardening, pruning, digging, or some other form of outdoor yardwork. Some common injuries that can be caused by, or aggravated by these forms of exercise include tennis or golfer’s elbow, neck and low back pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain, among others.

Here are some tips to avoid having these Spring activities go awry:

Knee Pain

Knee pain is often aggravated by activities such as crouching and kneeling, which are commonly associated with gardening and yardwork. Avoid crouching and kneeling by grabbing a 5 gallon bucket or stool to sit on, and if you do need to kneel or crouch, try not to do it for long periods of time.

Tennis elbow or Golfer’s elbow

Pain on the outside or inside of your elbow or forearm can be caused by doing gripping activities. Pulling weeds, using pruning shears, lifting heavy objects and repetitive use of your hands can cause elbow pain. Break up your activities to avoid this, and be mindful when you are needing to perform these types of activities. Take breaks and avoid repeated firm gripping or ‘pinching’ types of activities. 

Shoulder Pain

Rotator cuff injuries are often caused by use of your arm in an outstretched or overhead position. Repeatedly reaching to lift or grab things and working with your arms over your head causes significant stress on your rotator cuff muscles. The further you reach, the more strain on your shoulder. The heavier the object in your hand, the more strain on your shoulder. Think about moving your body closer to whatever it is you are working on so that you aren’t having to reach, and avoid lengthy periods of overhead work.

Neck and low back pain (LBP)

Low back pain can have numerous causes, but frequently at this time of year people report increased LBP after repetitive or heavy lifting, and spending too much time in a forward bent position. This could be using a weed trimmer, hand weeding, planting, powerwashing or anything else that has you bending forward repetitively or for prolonged durations. Neck pain is often caused by poor working posture, overhead work, and reaching activities. Things such as hand weeding seem simple enough, but it often involves repetitive reaching and putting your neck into an extended position. Overhead work also puts your neck in an extended position and can lead to neck pain. Avoid prolonged overhead work and sitting/kneeling postures where you are reaching to work. 

Hopefully some of these tips can come in handy this Spring and help you avoid having to come see us. If you do run into trouble, give us a call at 250-314-0788, or book an appointment online HERE.