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Take these steps to avoid gardening-related aches, pains

As many Western New Yorkers gear up for holiday weekend planting, a Catholic Health physical therapist offered some tips about how to avoid the toll that can come from repetitive bending, kneeling, reaching, and twisting.

“Spring time is a great time to get outside and do yard work. But, I can’t stress enough to make prevention a priority,” said physical therapist Joseph Baumgarden, manager at AthletiCare on the Kenmore Mercy Hospital campus in the Town of Tonawanda. “This time of year, the rehabilitation facility sees an increase in patients who has suffered injuries from improper lifting, poor bending techniques, and overexertion.”

This includes pain in the lower back, neck and shoulder from staying bent over for long periods of times; hand wrist, and elbow problems from repetitive use and digging; knee and hip issues from squatting and kneeling.

“Use the proper tool and body – positioning when gardening,” Baumgarden said.

Joseph Baumgarden is manager at AthletiCare on the Kenmore Mercy Hospital campus .

He offered the following tips:

– Start with light stretching and walk to warm up your muscles.

– Spread out your workload to avoid overexertion.

– Kneel instead of bending to place less strain on your back.

– Keep moving to avoid adding stress on your muscles and joints.

– Lift cautiously with your legs, not your back, and ask for help when you need it.

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