Tag Archives: gardening

Pain Free Gardening

Jumping Into Spring – with care!!

Pain Free Gardening

There is definitely a buzz in our reception areas at the moment. Even though the wintery weather is stubbornly clinging to life, there is at last a touch of Spring in the air and our many gardening fans are raring to go!



Gardening can lead to problems though:

  • Low back pain & wrist stiffness from digging, raking, lifting, weeding and prolonged use of shears
  • Neck & shoulder pain from pruning and maintaining a hunched over position for too long
  • Sore joints from bending down in the same position without break
  • Sore fingers from gripping the various tools of the trade.

Here are a few simple tips that may well help you to enjoy pain free gardening:

  • A few stretches before gardening can help prepare your body for action!
  • Vary your posture & stretch while you’re working – it’s great for blood flow. A static posture can lead to muscle spasm or cramp.
  • Bend from the knees and hips when lifting or bending – this keeps muscle strains at bay.
  • Don’t over do it! Sounds simple but so many gardeners fall prey to aches, pains and injuries through not pacing themselves and ripping into a project. Allowing time for a task is key.
  • Drink plenty of water thus replacing fluids lost through sweating.
  • Take time to stretch immediately you have finished your gardening session. This will restore your body balance and iron out those nagging knots whilst your muscles are still warm and flexible.

Enjoy your days in the garden!


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Enjoy Pain Free Gardening

Osteopath & keen gardener Lorraine Scates passes on some helpful tips on how to enjoy a pain free time working in your garden.

When the sun comes out and the weather improves many of us head outdoors and begin to get the garden in shape for the summer. This is the time we see gardening related lower back injuries and other joint complaints. However, with simple changes, the chance of injuring ourselves can be greatly reduced.

Firstly, try to limber up for the task in hand. Try some gentle stretching before attempting tasks that are strenuous.

Avoid lifting objects that are heavy ie paving slabs, so get a friend to help out to even the load.

Be aware of your posture at all times when performing these tasks. Avoid excessive slumping and try to maintain an upright position.

46061942 - happy grandmother with her granddaughter gardening on a sunny dayYou wouldn’t spend 5 hours in the gym at a time so avoid performing a single task for a lengthy period of time & keep things varied with frequent breaks

When weeding avoid stooping over whilst keeping the legs straight, instead try to bend the knees and squat down to the level you are weeding at or sit on a small stool or cushion to avoid knee discomfort. If you are feeling very energetic you may prefer a lunging position. Whichever position is easiest for you please be mindful of maintaining an upright posture and avoid slumping.

When digging, avoid stooping forward at the hips. We advise partly bending the knees using a shallow squat stance. Keep your chest proud to help keep an upright posture. Many back injuries occur when we are slumping forward combined with a twist or turn.

When potting try to set pots at a level you can work with at an upright posture – for example at a level where you can sit and work. This reduces the strain involved and makes it easier to maintain a good posture.

Finally repetitive strain should be considered when performing tasks that you may not have done since last summer. Strains can sometimes occur when a mild activity is performed over a long period of time. If you have been hibernating over the winter don’t expect to be fit enough to be able to perform gardening for numerous hours in one go and not suffer pain and injuries as a result. Take regular breaks. Be kind to your body and allow your body to adapt to the new physical demand you’re putting upon it.

Enjoy your garden! We’re here to help if you overdo it!! Call us at our Benfleet clinic on 01268 774249 or our Thurrock clinic on 01375 678877.



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With the first stuttering efforts of the sun many of us will be brushing the cobwebs off sports equipment such as tennis rackets, cricket bats and, for the fair weather types, even golf clubs.

Our practitioners advise that by all means get out and enjoy the summer sunshine, whether it’s playing sport, swimming in the pool or at the seaside, or cutting grass and weeding the garden, but taking a few simple precautions can help keep pain and injury at bay.

Your best bet is to prevent injury before it occurs. Start slowly. Don’t expect to be in the same playing condition as last year, even if you have been keeping up your fitness level. Muscles and joints respond in a different way to new activities. This may result in minor soreness while your body adjusts. If you push yourself too hard too soon, a minor discomfort can turn into something more serious.

Don’t forget to warm up. You might feel quite warm in the sunshine but, you still have to give your muscles a chance to go through the motions and get blood pumping to all the necessary areas. Gentle stretching before finishing your activity will also help those hard-working muscles retain and improve flexibility. Drink plenty of fluids!

Tips for Golfers

Golfers are prone to back injury, mainly due to the stress placed on the spine during a club swing. A good swing, especially during the follow through, often pulls on the lumbar region.

Exercise regularly to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the long muscles on either side of the spine help prevent strain and injury to the golfer. Many golfers carry their own bags, often on only one shoulder. This can trigger back pain. Using a hand pull golf trolley or even adding a special strap helps to balance the bags weight and spreads the load across the entire back.

 Tips for Cricketers

There are many common injuries connected to playing cricket. Hamstring tears for fielders or strains when stooping quickly & often to field the ball are regular problems; stretched ligaments may lead to a lack of stability for the wicket keeper if corrective exercises are not done; chronic back ache may be suffered by the batsman lucky enough to play a long innings and bowlers can experience conditions of overuse affecting the wrist, fingers, shoulders and elbows.

Before the game every team member should go through a series of gentle warm up exercises. Stretching at regular intervals during the course of the match is also highly recommended. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of instant ice packs handy in your sports bag just in case!

Tips for Tennis Players

Researchers have looked at the patterns of muscle activity triggered during the course of a game of tennis, especially during the serve. The research confirmed that strengthening the abdominal and low back muscles protects against injury.

To prevent damage from over working the same parts of the body, a tennis specific exercise routine will relieve stressed areas and people who take part in back exercise classes can often keep injuries and pain in the lower back at bay. Stretching regularly and ensuring good flexibility is an absolute must for even the infrequent player. Ensure you stretch the whole body starting with your neck and working all the way down to your toes.

Your body will let you know if something is wrong.  Don’t ignore the little aches and pains in the joints and muscles. If they don’t respond to home treatments and rest, seek advice from your osteopath.

Golden Rule: Get fit to play a sport DON’T play a sport to get fit!



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