How to Avoid Joint Pain from Spring Cleaning and Gardening

Posted on Mar 12, 2019, by

Spring means planting, weeding, mulching and, you guessed it, spring cleaning! But, do you know what else it means? It also means that as you watch the fruits of your labor blossom, you might experience joint pain from all your hard work. If you follow these tips, you can help avoid joint pain from all the work involved in spring cleaning and gardening.

 

Before You Get Started… Stretch!

Before you lift a gardening tool or pick up a broom, we recommend doing a series of arm, leg, and back stretches to help you avoid back and joint pain later in the day.

  • Start by bringing your right arm across your body, without letting your torso turn, and then use your left hand to push your right arm toward your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds as you feel the stretch. Repeat these steps for your left arm.
  • Next, we focus on your back and legs in one stretch. In a standing position, slowly roll from your torso toward the ground bringing your hands to meet it. Hold the position for 30 seconds as you feel the muscles in your back and legs lengthen.
  • Finally, to prepare for the strenuous movements that come with spring cleaning and gardening, we’ll incorporate the yoga positions cat and cow pose. Begin by kneeling into a tabletop position. Curl your back to create the cat pose. Inhale and reverse your position by tilting your pelvis back into the cow pose. Repeat a few times.

 

Have You Recently Had a Total Hip Replacement or Knee Surgery?

If you’ve recently had a total hip replacement or knee surgery, take extra care and keep your movement restrictions in mind. Anyone who has had surgery, especially those with joint replacements, should not get in the dirt with open sores or cuts to avoid exposure to bacteria. Remember to follow your doctor’s instructions and keep these things in mind:

 

Total Hip Replacement

  • Don’t sit on a gardening chair (kneeling chair) or on a short stool – it’s too low for your hip.
  • Two or three months after your surgery, it’s okay to kneel on a pad or kneeler. Kneel on the surgical leg first.
  • Avoid crawling on your hands and knees.
  • Don’t squat deeply. Don’t get in a position where your hips are lower than your knees.
  • No shoveling until four months post-op. This includes during gardening, snow removal or farm chores.

 

Total Knee Replacement

  • No shoveling until four months post-op. This includes during gardening, snow removal or farm chores.
  • At three months after your knee replacement, it is okay to kneel if you can tolerate it. Kneeling will likely be uncomfortable so take it easy.

 

It’s Time to Garden

As you start gardening, keep these things in mind:

  • When shoveling, keep your loads light. Don’t try to lift more than you can manage—that’s when people strain or injure themselves. Use proper body mechanics, even with light loads.
  • Use your entire body to shovel—not just your upper body. Your hip and thigh muscles are some of the largest and strongest in the body. Put them to work, too.
  • Use a wheelbarrow to haul mulch or dirt whenever possible.
  • When lifting a load, put one hand on the handle and the other as close as comfortably possible to the scoop. This makes for sturdier control of the load.
  • When weeding, try using a stool or rubber kneeling pad instead of bending over. You’ll be surprised at how much gardening aids like these make the task easier.
  • Take frequent rest breaks and change position often to let your muscles relax.

 

It’s Time for Spring Cleaning

Now that your garden is looking great, it’s time to work on the house. Here are some tips for avoiding pain during spring cleaning:

  • Lift with your legs. Bend your knees and squat as you lift heavy items.
  • Pivot your entire body when moving items – don’t just twist from the waist.
  • Whenever you lift something, remember to keep it as close to your body as possible to reduce strain on your back.
  • Overhead lifting can be dangerous so avoid it if possible. But if you need to get something overhead, avoid over-reaching and use a ladder or stepstool. Keep the load close to your body as you lower it to avoid rotator cuff injury.
  • Slide or push heavy or awkward items to avoid lifting when possible.

Like you, we joyfully anticipate the beginning of spring! Keep these tips in mind to help avoid joint pain from spring cleaning and gardening. Have more questions? Visit our website our FAQs or contact us here.

 

Sources:

 

https://gardentherapy.ca/5-simple-stretches-for-gardeners/

 

https://thekennedycenteroshkosh.com/our-services/hip-procedures/

 

https://thekennedycenteroshkosh.com/our-services/knee-procedures/

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