Now that summer has showered us with sunshine, fresh air, and birds full of song, it’s time to get out and return to the land, if you haven’t already. For many of us green goddesses, gardening tops this list. Gardening offers many benefits such as providing stress relief, an outlet for creativity and is an excellent activity to just get us moving. But just like any other form of physical activity, there are risks of injury.
As you dig, bend over, rake, plant, reach, prune, hoe, lift, twist, move, carry debris and create your gardening masterpiece, it’s important to protect yourself from potential hazards. If done improperly, gardening and yard work can lead to muscle and joint pain, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
“Planting, raking, weeding, digging, pruning, stooping, carrying heavy debris and reaching puts stress on the hands and wrists,” says Lou Paradise, president and chief of research at Topical BioMedics. “Gardeners spend hours performing these activities and without proper form, it can lead to a variety of problems such as sprains, twisted ankles, hand and wrist pain, lower back and shoulder pain, ankle, feet and knee pain. Don’t break your back bending over your begonias – protect yourself from potential hazards.”
Keep yourself injury free throughout this gardening season with these simple tips.
To avoid/reduce injuries:
-Be sure to warm up/stretch as you would before any physical activity. As a preventative, apply Topricin to the areas of the body that will be the most stressed (mentioned above). For example, if you are planting bulbs, lower back, hands and wrists are the points of stress.
-Wear gardening gloves (to reduce blister formation) and kneepads or use a foam cushion when needed to make it more comfortable and less traumatic for knees.
-Take proper precautions against ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots and check yourself and family members for ticks.
-Wear goggles when doing things like weedwacking and ear protection when using loud motorized equipment.
-Cover up and wear a hat and use natural sunscreen.
-Stay hydrated. Remember that you’re outside in the heat, working up a sweat and perspiring.
To treat injuries:
-When you stress your body/have an injury, the body wants to protect itself and heal. There’s an inflammatory response, where the body sense fluids back into the tissue.
For larger joints, like knee or ankle, keep elevated as much as possible.
HOT AND COLD THERAPY will shorten the duration of the recovery so it heals faster and you feel better sooner.
-ICE is the first course of action, for the first 24 – 48 hours to help with inflammation. Ice therapy has an effect when the ice is REMOVED. Ice stops the blood flow, when removed it releases fluids and toxins, stimulates lymphatic and toxin draining and more blood flow. Basic procedures for ice therapy: 10 minutes on; 5 off; 10 on, 5 off.
-MOIST HEAT and ICE/HEAT:
HEAT: 48 – 72 hours after injury try using heat on the injured area. You’ll know it’s OK to continue if you don’t feel worse afterwards. Heat draws more blood to the area and removes toxins.
-ALTERNATING HOT AND COLD: Cold and heat can be very powerful when used together at this point. Protocol – takes about 45 minutes:
Start with HEAT for 10 minutes; followed by 5 minute break. Then COLD for 10 minutes, followed by 5-minute break, then HEAT again for 10 minutes. Follow with application of Topricin.
-Apply natural cream Topricin before going out to garden, after gardening/bathing. Apply Topricin at night, morning and several times during the day as needed. Topricin is safe and natural, doesn’t contain parabens and doesn’t use any volatile oils such as camphor, menthol, petroleum or lanolin, fragrances or irritating chemicals – it’s also vegan. The cream is odorless and greaseless and will not stain your clothing. It also helps relieve symptoms of pain from other gardening aliments such as blisters, tick bites, Lyme disease, poison ivy, sunburn and dehydration. Topricin Application Instructions: Generously apply Topricin as needed three inches on and around to affected area/injury. Rub in well until absorbed. For best results, apply evenings, morning/after bathing and 3 – 4 or more times during the day as needed. For Severe pain and swelling, seek medical attention (but apply Topricin as a first line first aid treatment too).