In a May 12, 2003 release out of the "Canada NewsWire" was some good information and advice pertaining to working in the garden. The news release reported on a new poll just published that reveals that gardening and yard work are the number one causes of back and/or neck discomfort in the spring and summer months.
The poll was conducted by national research firm Pollara, where 500 Ontario Canada chiropractors were asked what were the largest causes of back and neck pain among their patients. The results of the poll indicated that eighty-eight per cent of Ontario chiropractic doctors report that working in the yard and garden are the most common sources of back and neck pain they see during the warm weather season. Golf ranked in second place at 31 per cent, tied with outdoor sports in general at 30 per cent.
Dr. Dennis Mizel, President of the Ontario Chiropractic Association noted, "In Canada, gardening can be an estimated $3.5 billion business and all of that digging, lifting, raking, pruning, planting, weeding and watering can result in substantial strain to the muscles and back." Dr. Mizel continued, "The best part about it is that it's preventable. Gardening can certainly be a serious workout. That is why we're encouraging people to treat it like any other kind of exercise. Warming-up just before digging in, and using the proper techniques and tools can go a long way to letting people enjoy the results of their labor pain-free."
The Ontario Chiropractic Association is partnering with the Ontario Horticultural Society, the Garden Clubs of Ontario and Sheridan Nurseries to help get the word out about back safe lawn work and gardening. "Thousands of people visit our gardening centers once the warm weather hits," says Mary-Beth Brown, Marketing Coordinator, Sheridan Nurseries. "So we're pleased to be able to reach our customers with this public education program. It's a good idea to limber up before you get to the gardening centre and start loading supplies into your car or truck, and we always have someone to help out if a customer needs assistance."
In the article the Ontario Chiropractic Association offered several tips for back smart gardening:
• Stretch Before You Start: Warming-up your muscles with stretches before going out helps to reduce the stress and strain on your joints and muscles, reducing the chance of injury.
• Bend Your Knees to Lift with Ease: When lifting, keep your back straight and bend your knees. Always carry the load close to your body and avoid twisting.
• The right tools, the right moves: Use the right tools and moves for the job. Kneel to plant and change positions frequently when raking, digging, hoeing or pruning. Use ergonomically designed, long handled, lightweight tools.
• Take a Break Before It Aches: Give yourself and your back a break. As a rule-of-thumb take a brief rest or stretch break at least three times each hour, and drink fluids frequently.