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Avoiding Injury in Your Garden and Yard

Summer is here and now is the time people race to their yards and gardens to get their flowers, fruits, and vegetables ready for a season of good food and beautiful landscaping. These activities tend to be hard on the lower back, knees, shoulders, arms, and wrists.

Follow these tips to avoid injury while gardening and doing yard projects this season:

  1. Warm up the muscles you will be using to do your work including your arms, legs and back. Take a short walk, march in place, do arm circles and a few jumping jacks.
  2. Maintain good body mechanics and positioning. Bend and lift with your knees and legs, not at the waist. Keep your core muscles tight. Keep your shoulders back and down to avoid straining your shoulders and upper back.
  3. Use a wheelbarrow when possible to move heavy items.
  4. While planting and weeding, squat down or kneel on a pad; avoid bending and twisting at the waist.
  5. When using a hoe or rake, step into the movement instead of bending forward and using only your arms.
  6. Take frequent stretching breaks – every 20 to 30 minutes. Do shoulder rolls. Stand and lean side to side reaching your opposite arm over your head. Reach your hands over your head and tilt head side to side
  7. Plan to spread the work out over a couple of days or weekends. Do not do it all in one day.

The days following your garden or yard work are just as important to think about. Pain or injury don’t always show themselves right away. Monitor your muscles for over the next few days to prevent injury.

  1. Use ice on the overused/sore areas 20 minutes at a time.
  2. Rest and drink water.
  3. Take a walk to increase blood flow to the muscles and help with removal of the lactic acid causing the sore muscles.

If pain continues or you suspect an injury, check with your chiropractor or doctor. To schedule an appointment, visit or call 320-253-5220. We want to help you enjoy all that the summer has to offer – pain-free!