Yard Work and Lumbar Disc Pain

yard work and lumbar disc pain

Yard Work and Lumbar Disc Pain

Common yard work, although essential for maintaining a well-kept outdoor space, can pose risks to the lumbar spine and lead to disc-related problems such as disc herniations and degenerative disc disease. Understanding the biomechanical reasons behind these issues is crucial for ensuring safety during yard work. By implementing specific precautions and following proper techniques, individuals can reduce the risk of lumbar disc problems and protect their low back while engaging in yard work.

One of the main biomechanical reasons why yard work can contribute to lumbar disc problems is the repetitive and asymmetrical nature of the tasks involved. Many yard work activities, such as bending, lifting, twisting, and carrying heavy objects, place excessive stress on the lumbar discs and surrounding structures. The repeated bending and twisting motions can lead to overuse injuries, strain the back muscles, and potentially cause disc herniation over time.

Preventing Against Disc Herniation and Degenerative Disc Disease

Additionally, the uneven terrain often encountered in yard work can further challenge the lumbar spine. Walking on uneven surfaces, such as slopes or rocky terrain, can disrupt the spine’s natural alignment, causing it to compensate for stability. These compensatory movements can increase the load on the lumbar discs and lead to microtrauma or disc degeneration. Discseel is a new non-surgical way to seal the disc cracks that lead to disc degeneration, but it is more important to avoid starting these disc cracks by using these strategies:

  1. Warm up and stretch: Prior to starting yard work, perform dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles and joints for physical activity. Focus on stretching the muscles of the lower back, hamstrings, and hips.
  2. Use proper lifting techniques: When lifting heavy objects, such as bags of soil or potted plants, bend your knees, keep your back straight, and engage your leg and core muscles. Avoid twisting while lifting and use your legs to generate the lifting force.
  3. Pace yourself: Avoid overexertion by taking regular breaks and dividing the tasks into smaller, manageable segments. This approach helps prevent fatigue and reduces the strain on your low back.
  4. Utilize ergonomic tools: Invest in ergonomic tools with long handles or adjustable features that promote good posture and minimize excessive bending or reaching.
  5. Maintain proper posture: Whether you’re raking leaves, shoveling snow, or gardening, ensure that you maintain a neutral spine and avoid excessive bending or twisting motions. Bend from the hips and use your leg muscles to support your movements.
  6. Wear supportive footwear: Choose footwear that provides adequate arch support and cushioning to minimize the impact on your low back while walking on uneven surfaces.
  7. Use knee pads or kneeling pads: When kneeling or squatting to tend to plants or perform ground-level tasks, use knee pads or kneeling pads to protect your knees and reduce strain on your low back.
  8. Alternate sides: If you’re engaged in activities that require repetitive movements, such as raking or mowing, alternate sides regularly to distribute the workload evenly and prevent overloading on one side.
  9. Engage your core muscles: Strengthening your core muscles through exercises such as planks or abdominal crunches can improve spinal stability and reduce the risk of low back injuries during yard work.
  10. Seek assistance when needed: If a task requires heavy lifting or is beyond your physical capabilities, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Enlist the assistance of a family member, neighbor, or hire professionals for tasks that may pose a risk to your low back.

By implementing these precautions, you can significantly reduce the biomechanical risks associated with yard work and protect your low back from potential injuries or lumbar disc problems. Remember, taking the time to prioritize safety during yard work will help you enjoy a well-maintained outdoor space and preserve the health and well-being of your low back for years to come.

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I’m Boris Terebuh MD, Ohio’s first and most experienced Discseel® provider. I am also the Founder & Medical Director of the Regenerative Spine & Joint Center