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Plant and Rake Without the Ache
By Drs. Neal Barry and Nicole Barry

Every season, our bodies take on new tasks. From the shoveling of snow in winter (not much in Santa Barbara) to the mowing of the lawn in summer, our outdoor work and overall hobbies may change. The Spring and Summer are no exceptions.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) recognizes this small but important fact of life and prepares information for the public to address the varying activities of the year. This spring, they have compiled some meaningful and important information along with some suggestions to get us through the coming gardening and yard work season. It is my pleasure to share some of their thoughts with you.

According to the OCA, most gardening and yard work injuries are preventable. To prevent back pain and other injuries it is recommended that you warm-up your body by stretching the muscles and joints. Along with this comes the warning that correct lifting techniques should be employed along with the correct tools and a reasonable work schedule, i.e. not doing too much at once.

At the same time, gardening and yard work are both great physical activities. At a rate of 300 calories per hour, making sure your yard is vibrant and pleasant can mean shedding extra pounds of unwanted weight. Over a season, you may find you are able to do more and perhaps in less time as you become more fit. To aid in the process, be sure to warm-up (gentle walk and movement of all the body's joints) before the yard work and to cool down after you are done with some stretching (please ask us if you're not sure if you are doing them correctly). Changing positions often, alternating tasks and drinking plenty of water are also suggested.

Computer workers and physical laborers will tell you that it's tough to do the same task over and over throughout the day. Break up repetitive tasks by switching arms or taking several rests during each hour of work. Gardening and yard working tools often require repetitive actions that can lead to joint dysfunction and irritated nerves that can not only hurt you physically, but also lower your level of overall health. Alternate the frequency and intensity of your activities to keep you smiling a bit longer in the sun (with your SPF 30 sunscreen).

After your yard is the talk of the town, make sure your aches and pains do not persist. If the work is new or you're not generally active, you will be sore for a couple days afterwards, but this should disappear. If, however, the discomfort lasts for more than 48 hours or if you notice a change in your ability to move freely, it's time to visit a chiropractor for some advice and a thorough check-up. To treat these problems properly so that they do not cause future health concerns is a must, not to mention chiropractic care is an excellent means to early detection of back related problems.

Here's a handy pneumonic to make sure we all have HEALTHY BACKS for our spring activities:

H - have the right tools for the task at hand
E - ensure you drink plenty of fluids
A - alternate between light and heavy jobs
L - lift correctly
T - take breaks
H - heavy loads should be shared
Y - your feet should be protected with supportive shoes
B - before you start, warm up your muscles
A - avoid muscle strain, learn the right techniques
C - change positions frequently
K - kneel to plant and weed
S - spinal check-ups can help keep your back healthy

It's with good intentions we tend to our gardens and yards. Don't let good intentions lead to bad problems. A little bit of well-invested time to take heed of what our bodies need can save us a lot of grief in the long run. After all, what good is that beautiful Santa Barbara yard if you're not able to enjoy it? So remember "plant and rake without the ache."

In This Issue
Plant and Rake Without the Ache
Hollywood Stunt Performers Credit Chiropractic Grilled Peaches

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