Tips for Safe Yardwork

Spring is (almost) here! There are a few simple and easy tips to follow to ensure a safe and pain free transition into spring and summer.

Before you go outside to do some gardening and yard work, be sure to incorporate a warm-up and cool-down that includes stretching. Stretches should be performed before and after activity to avoid injury. Start slow at first, take a 10 minute break every 20-30 minutes, and slowly increase the amount of time you are working outside. By doing this, your body will be able to acclimate itself to the increased demands of yard work. Always use proper body mechanics when gardening, such as engaging your core muscles and bending at the knees (not the low back!), and always have water near by!

The American Chiropractic Association suggest some quick, beneficial stretches.

Simple Stretches For Everybody
Before stretching, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Breathe in and out slowly throughout each stretching exercise until the muscle is stretched to its furthest point. At that point, hold your breath in. When you relax, breathe out. Stretch gently and smoothly. Do not bounce or jerk your body in any way and stretch as far as you can comfortably. You should not feel pain.

Following are a few easy stretches Dr. Brassard recommends for getting the most out of the time you spend in the yard:

  • Stand up and prop your heel on a back door step or stool with your knee slightly bent. Bend forward until you feel a slight pull at the back of the thigh, called the hamstring. You may need to stabilize yourself by holding onto a garage door handle or sturdy tree branch. Hold the position for 20 seconds, then relax. Do it once more, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Stand up and put your right hand against a wall or other stable surface. Bend your left knee and grab your ankle with your left hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks to stretch the quadricep muscle at the front of your thigh. Hold that position for 20 seconds, relax and do it again. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Weave your fingers together above your head with your palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the side of your upper body, then reverse. Repeat two or three times.
  • “Hug your best friend”: Wrap your arms around yourself after letting your breath out and rotate to one side, as far as you can go. Hold it for 10 seconds. Then reverse. Repeat two or three times.

If you feel any discomfort/soreness during or after gardening be sure to see your chiropractor for a quick and detailed evaluation so you can get back out in the yard as soon as possible!


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