NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR MARCH 13, 2010 *************************************************************  




          ( Jane Frisch is editor of the Lincoln Rose Society newsletter. This article first appeared in the April 2009 issue and is reprinted by permission. Much of the information Jane used was taken from the “ARS and You” by Linda Shamoon , an article reprinted from the Rhode Island Rose Review.)


          Become a strategic gardener, one who recognizes signs of a problem and so can avoid them, in this case backaches and sciatic pain. I am sure we have all experienced them and tend to discount them as insignificant. However, they can be very painful and even keep you off your feet for some time.


Some steps to avoid backaches, that we may know but don't always follow:

·        Plan ahead and watch time limits. It is easy to overdo when you love getting down and dirty!

·        Limit amount of time spent weeding, digging and "grunt work", especially those tasks that we usually do bending over from the waist. Can't do that for long without feeling it.

·        Plan on 20-30 minutes of that followed by a break, and then a different activity for a change of position.

·        In a back recovery mode plan tasks ahead, and plan to do just enough to keep roses blooming. They will probably do just fine, at least in the short run!

·        Don't bend forward or down. This seems impossible when weeding, digging, hoeing, even adding fertilizer. Here are some ways to avoid this.

1.     When you do an activity that might require bending from the waist, bend you knees instead, using those strong leg muscles. Even this can't be maintained for very long.

2.     When you straighten up, don't use back muscles. Again, use those leg muscles. When sitting on a low bench, a wheeled one is preferred since you can easily move around without having to get up and down, or use a stool and even the ground. A strong stick or cane can aid in getting up safely. Keep your spine and hips in alignment, as much as possible.

3.     For just a few weeds or tasks, kneel down on one knee using a pad if preferred, and weed on alternate sides. Use a stout stick or cane to rise with some support.

4.     For hoeing, weeding, or planting annuals use a shovel or digging fork to loosen the soil, but not lifting it. Do this without bending. Next sit or kneel on the ground, and use that knee pad. For short periods, hand hoe or weed an area that is easily reached. Then you can plant seeds or annuals. . This may take longer, but you will be pain free. How about lying down to weed? It can work!


          Pause often to take breaks, have a cool drink, or chat with a neighbor

Seek professional help if you are really in pain that does not go away with rest or pain pills such as acetaminophen.

          With all the attention to sports medicine we have lots of different people to turn to—physical therapy, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, yoga, pilates , etc.


          (Check out the American Rose Society Lots of super information there. The ARS magazine is a great knowledge pool. You will always find interesting information to use and you receive it when you join the American Rose Society.)

Copyright 2010