Five Yard Work Tips from a Physical Therapy Clinic in Napa County, CA

May 11, 2017 4:55 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you take on summer gardening projects, you are often asking a lot of your body. Failing to take care as you pull weeds, haul mulch and lay down pavers can wind up sending you to a physical therapy clinic in Napa County, CA to manage a great deal of pain. Rather than risk injury and delay, follow these five tips for safe yard work this summer:

  • Change up tasks: Pruning and trimming for hours at a time risks repetitive stress injury. This is especially true if you use heavy shears for addressing tree branches and full hedges. It is easy to become obsessed with the perfect hedge shape, but take care manage this task with moderation. Take a break every 30 minutes or switch to a new task, like weeding or watering. This prevents rotator cuff and wrist tendinitis that could limit your pruning abilities later.
  • Know how to lift: We receive many referrals because a patient did not know how to lift heavy items properly. Rather than sustain a painful back injury, be mindful and bend from your hips and kneesā€”not your back. Purchase a heavy-duty wheelbarrow to move heavy items and minimize carrying. If you have bags of mulch or soil in the back of a truck or SUV, squat to loading level and roll the bags onto your shoulders. This assures you use leg strength rather than taking a chance on your back.
  • Buy good gloves: A high-quality pair of gloves goes far with yard work. They protect your skin from thorns, venomous plants and rough surfaces. You will also enjoy a better grip with your yard tools, which prevents injury from dropping them. Another benefit is shock absorption. As you chop wood or prune branches, the gloves act as an additional cushion against tendon stress. This is especially helpful if you are vulnerable to wrist conditions like carpal tunnel or tendinitis.
  • Hydrate: Heat stroke is a real danger, and you must keep hydrated as you work during our hot summers. Keep water handy and freeze bottles the night before so the water remains fresh and cold. Hydration also prevents muscle strains that can leave you on the couch with a heating pad or ice bag rather than enjoying the outdoors. Anytime you feel lightheaded while working outside, immediately seek shade and take a break to refuel with water and a snack. Falls from exhaustion or dehydration also contribute to yard work injuries in the summer.
  • Take care of your skin: Sustaining a rash, sunburn or bad bug bite can keep you indoors and produce discomfort. Being sedentary for a time increases your chances of injury when you take on your yard once again. Wear sunscreen and insect repellent to prevent burns and bites. Even on cloudy days, the sun can still burn your skin, so do not neglect the sunscreen entirely. If you are allergic to specific insect bites, cover up in UV-protected clothing and avoid them when possible.

Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy is a physical therapy clinic in Napa County, CA. Call us today to schedule a wellness consultation and avoid injury this summer!

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