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Is Gardening Giving You a Pain in the Neck, Back, Arms or Legs?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

By John Voket

Are you simply suffering the consequence of growing older, or is the back, leg and arm pain that comes on during gardening just signaling the need for a change in behavior, even before the gardening chores are being performed?

JC Rejuvenation & Wellness, a chiropractic center in Bartlett, Ill., recently dispatched a lesson about protecting yourself from injury while gardening. According to the practice, it is important to stretch your muscles before reaching for your gardening tools.

They cite Dr. Scott Bautch of the American Chiropractic Association's (ACA) Council on Occupational Health, who says a warm-up and cool-down period is as important in gardening as it is for any other physical activity.

To prepare your body for even moderately strenuous gardening, the following routine can help alleviate muscle pain after a day spent in your garden:

  • Before stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Do not follow the no pain, no gain rule. Stretching should not be painful.
  • While sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh, or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg.
  • Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg.
  • While standing, weave your fingers together above your head with the palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.
  • Do the "Hug your best friend." Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times.

Finally, the practice recommends that you kneel, don't bend, and alternate your stance and movements as often as possible to keep the muscles and body balanced. For more information, check out


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