In my last email I mentioned we’re making our backyard more hospitable for extended homestays. This is going to require a little landscaping and other forms of yard work.  I even got Hayden in on the fun this week.  Here’s a peak behind-the-scenes:

Well, it turns out I’m not the only one who had this idea.

I guess with most of us being stuck at home, and the weather getting warmer (fingers crossed), some of my colleagues this week reported more “essential” visits from patients who were hit with neck or back pain from yard work or gardening. So here are a few “gentle reminders” to help you avoid the need for urgent care (not that I wouldn’t be happy to see you):

  1. Do a few stretches.

This is especially true if you’ve been doing your best impression of a couch potato lately.  Yard work can be pretty demanding.  I’d caution you against diving in “cold”.  Even a few walking lunges together with trunk rotations, arm rotations, and light neck stretches will go a long way toward priming your body.

  1. Bend your knees.

As much as you can, be sure to squat down to pick things up vs. simply bending at the waist.  Also, remember to “brace” your core to help protect your back.

  1. Use the right tools for the job.

This is where a lot of weekend warriors get themselves in trouble.  I recommend against improvised or creative tool choices.  There are plenty of YouTube tutorials available for free, if you want to know some best practices for the task you’re about to tackle. These can help keep you safe. And will probably save you time as well.

  1. Take frequent breaks.

A good rule of thumb is “take a break BEFORE it aches”.  You want planned, deliberate rest intervals that’ll prevent the kind of fatigue that makes you more liable to injury.  Also, be sure hydrate.  A lot. I hope you’ll take my reminders to heart before embarking on any yard reno projects.

BONUS TIP: If you have kids, get them involved!  Hayden loves [something related to the project, e.g. “being a helper”] and don’t forget they need lots of physical activity too.

Finally, if you do wind up with pain for any reason, I can still help.

That does it for this week. Stay positive, stay active, and most of all…stay safe!


Dr. Josh

P.S. I’ve really enjoyed all the replies from current and former patients this last few weeks.  It feels great to stay connected through everything.  If I haven’t heard from you yet, feel free to drop me a line with a question, a comment, or even it’s just to let me know how you’re doing!  I always love hearing from you.