Prevent injuries to the spinal column and vertebrae while working in the yard

Staying active is an important part of maintaining the health of your spinal column and vertebrae, and yard work can be a great form of exercise. For some people, it’s a chore, but for others, it’s a soothing hobby.

No matter how you think of yard work, though, it can be a strenuous activity that must be performed with proper care and preparation to reduce the risk injury. Take a moment to review these tips about how to protect your spine while gardening and working in the yard.

Avoid that aching back

Think about the physical action necessary to rake the autumn leaves, trim an overgrown hedge or even mow a small patch of lawn. Now, think about how important your back muscles are as you perform those tasks. The spinal column and vertebrae are involved in nearly every movement you make, and this is especially true for repetitive physical activities like yard work.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your back when it’s time to tackle the lawn or garden:

  • Perform a five-minute warm-up — This does not need to involve anything too strenuous; a few back and joint stretches should suffice to loosen up the muscles and help prevent injury.
  • Always use your legs to lift heavy objects — You’ve heard this before, no doubt, but it is good advice: bend your knees and keep your spine straight, and never lean forward to pick up something heavy.
  • Kneel, rather than bend over — This is particularly important if the job involves using a spade to dig or hand trimmers to edge a sidewalk for more than a few seconds.
  • Alternate chores — Instead of raking for hours on end, rake for a few minutes, then mow the lawn or prune the shrubbery; this uses different muscle groups and places less repetitive stress on the back.

What to do when back pain develops

If you do feel a twinge or ache within the spinal column and suspect your vertebrae may be affected, stop working and begin to monitor your neck or back pain. If it doesn’t go away, there’s a chance it’s more serious than a muscle strain or ligament sprain, and you should visit your physician for a diagnosis.

Chronic pain may require prescription medication or a course of physical therapy. If surgery becomes an option, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the advantages our minimally invasive spine surgery offers over traditional open back surgery.

For example, our minimally invasive spine surgery is proven safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery^, and our patients benefit from a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of infection and complication. That means you can get back to your life and your hobbies, like gardening, faster. The minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries at Laser Spine Institute are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan to determine if our minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you.