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Health Team

Do some body work to protect against yard work injuries

Posted April 18

With these warmer spring temperatures, more people are out working their yards, but the yard work can be a real pain for some people.

Back pain is a common issue, especially in spring time, according to the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Santhosh Thomas.

"Most of us start doing things without realizing that we've been resting for some time," Thomas said. "So, ideally one should rest just for a short time and then work out a little bit, do some proper stretches, use the body mechanics, use the right tool for the events that you're addressing."

People often get hurt doing more than their body is able to do.

Typically, after the ages of 30 to 35, our bodies lose strength, about half a percent to one percent every year. So, we should adjust our activities as we age to avoid injury.

Working on your flexibility can help you tolerate seasonal activities like raking, lifting and shoveling. Yoga or stretching can help warm up the muscles before you head out to do yard work.

People who tend to over-do it may have some pain later in the day.

Ice can help decrease swelling from a new injury, while heat, which increases circulation and loosens the muscles, is recommended for lingering injuries.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications may help unless your doctor recommends against it due to an existing medical condition.

"See a doctor if your pain is increasing or if you have neurological deficits, which includes numbness, tingling, weakness, difficulty going to the bathroom," Thomas said. "Those are all concerns."

Try conservative measures at home first for aches and pains that come with yard work.

Some symptoms, though, warrant medical attention—if you have any doubts, call your doctor.

WRAL Health Team's Dr. Allen Mask says it's important to know that as we age, the body does not recover from injury as well. Injuries tend to last a little longer and seem to be more severe. 

Be sure to recognize your limitations, and whenever possible, ask or hire someone else to help or do the work for you.

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