Green thumb or a pain in the neck?

A Campbell River physiotherapist is warning people not to overdo it this gardening season

Gardening is great way to get fresh air, an excellent form of exercise and a fun activity you can do throughout your life.

But a local physiotherapist is warning people not to overdo it.

“As a physiotherapist I notice an increase each spring with clients who injure themselves gardening,” said Tanya Kessling, physiotherapist with Rehabilitation in Motion. Kessling offers some quick tips for to help you avoid any potential discomforts:

  • Use long handled tools to avoid over-reaching (reaching is the number one way to injure both your rotator cuffs and spine).
  • Use fat handled tools to avoid gripping injuries as gardening involves a lot of gripping, pulling and twisting.
  • Look for tools that allow you to use the big muscles of your thighs, gluts and shoulders as opposed to the small muscles of your forearm and fingers.  These small muscles are quickly prone to repetitive strain injuries like tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and more. Work as close as you can to your task, the golden rule is to be able to work with your spine neutral (ears in line with shoulders and hips), and elbows at your sides avoiding any reach.
  • Take breaks every 20 minutes to gently stretch, and recruit some family members to help.

“If you have pain that lasts longer than 1-2 days after gardening please seek medical assessment as soon as possible,” Kessling said. “Generally, acute injuries are easier to treat than chronic injuries that have spiralled into many compensatory movements and body changes.”