Yardwork 101: Protect Your Back!

June 17, 2019

It is that time of year where we spend more time outdoors and for some that means yard clean up and/or landscape remodeling. While the outdoors can be refreshing for the mind, it can be very hard on the neck and upper back, especially if exercising in the winter was not your agenda.

So if gardening is your passion, a few tips to keep you back healthy. I refer to them as the 4 "L's" of lifting.

Use your LEGS:

Tips for Proper Yard Clean Up
Buffalo Rehab Group | Physical Therapy, 27 Oct. 2017, buffalorehab.com/blog/tips-for-proper-yard-clean-up/

When lifting heavy objects position your feet about shoulder width apart and lift with your legs rather than your back. Bending forward to pick up items should be accomplished by bending your knees, putting hips back, and keeping your back straight.

Use your LUNGS:

Make sure to not hold your breath while lifting because it can cause the Valsalva maneuver. The Valsalva maneuver can slow your heart rate, weaken your core, and build up abdominal pressure, ending in the possibility of a hernia.

Consider the LOAD:

For heavy objects perform a power lift, ex. Mulch.

For medium weight object perform a diagonal squat lift, ex. Shovel

For light -weight objects perform a golfers pick up, ex. Flowers

Keep the LEVER ARMshort:

Keep objects close to your body to avoid adding more pressure on the spine.A longer reach of the lever arm will cause more torque in the upper body.


Author: Michelle McCallum, PT, DPT, OCS, MDT-Cert



"Patient Education Library." MedBridge, www.medbridgeeducation.com/patient-education-library.

"Tips for Proper Yard Clean Up." Buffalo Rehab Group | Physical Therapy, 27 Oct. 2017, buffalorehab.com/blog/tips-for-proper-yard-clean-up/.

"Breathing Techniques to Enhance Your Workouts." Fix.com, www.fix.com/blog/workout-breathing-techniques/.