Spring gardening: avoid injury!

Spring Gardening

Photo by India Patel

It’s that time of year when the warmer temperatures of spring beckon people outdoors.  Whether it be yard work or the start of a new running season, spring can find us with sore muscles and an injury caused in part by the inactivity of winter.  The following suggestions can help minimize damage:

  1. Make sure you stretch both before and after physical activity.  Some suggestions include the Gastrocnemius-Soleus StretchHip flexor stretch, and active trunk rotation. Correct form for the above exercises can be found by viewing the videos at the end of this post.
  2. When completing yard work, make sure you lift with your legs and not your back.  When weeding or planting make sure that you work from a kneeling position rather than bending from your waist.
  3. Timing is everything.  A little bit every day is better than one long marathon session.  If you are going to be working for a long time, switch tasks frequently to prevent injuries caused by repetative motion.
  4. Remember less is more, use a smaller shovel and avoid lifting too much.  For big projects such as transplanting shrubs ask for help from a friend or neighbor.


If you find yourself sore and uncomfortable (even a day or two) following increased activity remember to:

  1. Ice the area that is uncomfortable.
  2. While NSAIDs (Ibuprofen/ naproxen) can reduce swelling, many herbal and homeopathic preparations can do a much more effective job and are gentler on your stomach, liver, and kidneys.  Please contact your health care provider for details.
  3. Apply Traumeel® or Arnica gel over the affected area two to three times a day.
  4. See your favorite chiropractor for an adjustment and other therapy suggestions to relieve your pain.
  5. Heat should not typically be used for over exertion type injuries, but instead for osteo arthritic conditions.

With a little preparation and care, you can enjoy the opportunities warmer weather brings.


Vijay Patel (77 Posts)

Dr. Vijay Patel earned his doctoral degree in Chiropractic from National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. Dr. Patel is board certified in electrodiagnostics by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Dr. Patel has recently received training in Manipulation under Anesthsia (MUA). Constantly striving to give his patients the most up-to-date care possible, Dr. Patel attends many post-graduate seminars including such topics as neurology, research review, and sports performance enhancement. Dr. Patel has practiced medicine at Advanced Physical Medicine and Therapy in Mt. Prospect, Illinois since 1999. Dr. Patel currently serves as president of the Chicago chapter of the Illinois Chiropractic Society. He is also a member of both the National College of Chiropractic Alumni Association and the American Chiropractic Association. Dr. Patel is fluent in Gujarati. A lifelong runner, he has completed marathons and still competes in triathlons with his college mates.


    Permanent link to this article: http://apmt.us/2011/03/spring-gardening-dos-and-donts/

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