As nearly every homeowner can attest, it often seems like yard work and back pain go hand in hand. How many times have you come out of the yard after a hard day’s work feeling exhausted and sore – only to have the pain continue the rest of the weekend? Lower back pain is something that nearly everyone experiences at some point in life – as many as 90 percent, in fact – and it can have a real effect on your qualify of life. The good news is that the majority of back aches and pains heal on their own or only require minimal treatment. However, for a segment of the population, back pain continues long after the yard work has been completed.
Yard work can cause back pain in a variety of ways. Frequent bending over to pull weeds can strain a muscle; the vibration of the tractor or push lawnmower can strain the back; improper posture while raking can add to stress on the lower back. The possibilities are virtually endless. Lower back pain is particularly common because the lumbar spine in the lower back is both extremely flexible and tasked with supporting most of the body’s weight. This combination of flexibility and pressure makes it extremely easy to injure it if you aren’t careful, and, as with any physical exertion, it’s not uncommon to tweak the back muscles during yard work.
The key to avoiding back pain during any exercise lies with proper preparation. Before beginning your yard or house work, take a moment to stretch out and loosen your back muscles. By alleviating muscular tension, you are reducing the chance for strain or a pinched nerve. Also, be careful not to overexert yourself. Lifting a bag of yard waste that weighs too much and carrying heavy equipment are two good ways to strain yourself and possibly cause a bulging or herniated disc. Also, be sure to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated to allow your body to recover.
If you are experiencing prolonged back pain, contact your physician to begin conservative treatment. This type of treatment typically entails:
- Heat/ice therapy
- Pain medication or anti-inflammatories
- Exercise, stretching techniques and physical therapy
- Limited rest
- Lifestyle changes
- And more
If your pain is persisting and you are considering other options, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about how our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures can help you find relief from neck or back pain.