6 Tips for Preventing Low Back Injuries While Doing Yard Work

Female athlete lower back painful injury. Sporty woman backache

According to statistics, the average American spends 32 hours per month keeping their yard looking fresh.

Are you a house-proud homeowner who spends a fair amount of time tending to their yard? Looking after your yard doesn’t just keep things looking neat and well-maintained, it is also a healthy activity that gets you moving and enjoying the outdoors.

But there’s one drawback to yard work. It can trigger low back injuries, especially if you have a history of back issues.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of lower back injuries while doing yard work.

Continue reading to find out 6 tips for preventing lower back injuries while working outside.

1. Stretch It Out

Do you do gentle stretches before working out? Yard work can be relatively strenuous. If you want to minimize the risk of lower back injuries, try doing a few basic stretches before getting stuck in.

Stretching helps to loosen up the muscles and keep them flexible, preventing strain and injury.

2. Bend From the Knees

If you suffer from lower back pain, one of the best strategies for yard work is to bend from the knees. This reduces strain on the lumbar spine and allows you to maintain better posture.

The same principle applies to heavy lifting. The next time you pick up a bag of compost or a sack of fertilizer, use the strength of your legs rather than your back and focus on keeping your spine straight.

3. Pivot Rather Than Twist

Speaking of posture, are you twisting from the waist while spading compost, removing mulch, or gathering garden debris? Too much twisting can be a recipe for low back injuries, especially if you’re carrying heavy objects.

Instead, try to pivot with your feet and keep your back in a straight line.

4. Take Breaks

If you’ve only got a few hours to devote to your yard each week, it can be tempting to dive in and plow through the work without taking breaks.

But, taking short rests is essential for minimizing the risk of lower back injuries. Working too long in the same position is bound to cause strain and lower back pain.

If you’re crouched down weeding, get up and stretch out your back. Walk around, smell the air, and enjoy the fruits of your labor for a few minutes.

Got a big stretch of lawn to mow? Your mower will appreciate a short break just as much as your back.

5. Address Existing Lower Back Pain

If you struggle with lower back pain when doing yard work, there’s a good chance that you have existing back issues. These could range from chronic problems, such as degenerative disc disease or scoliosis, to simple issues such as slight subluxation that’s causing the muscles to pull and strain.

Either way, it’s a good idea to get any existing issues or pain checked out before tackling large amounts of yard work. If your spine is subluxated, there’s a much greater chance of triggering a back injury while working outside.

An experienced chiropractor will be able to assess the cause of any existing back pain. Chiropractic care can not only provide you with pain relief, but it can also target the underlying issue.

6. Lighten the Load

Last but not least, lighten the load where you can. The more heavy lifting you do while tackling your outside chores, the more chance you have of experiencing low back injuries.

Fill your watering can halfway, don’t overload your wheelbarrow, and decant things like compost, fertilizer, and mulch from large sacks into smaller buckets. You get the idea!

Are Low Back Injuries Taking the Joy Out of Yard Work?

Whipping your yard into shape can be highly satisfying. But, it can also be hard work and place strain on your lower back. All the yard envy in the world can’t make up for the pain that can come with low back injuries.

Whether you want to address existing back pain before tackling your yard or are experiencing lower back pain after working outdoors, we can help.

Here at East Valley Chiropractic, our goal is to help you get back to the activities your health concerns have stopped you from enjoying.

Put your back health first by booking an appointment today.