Tips for Gardening

It is said that gardening is good exercise, but few of us make the effort to warm up and loosen up the way one would before any other exercise. If there’s a time when that effort is needed, it’s springtime. After a long period of not having exerted oneself in the garden, one needs to ease ones body into the lifting and contortions you are going to demand of it in the garden.

Back pain and knee strain are the most common gardening injuries. Some easy stretching will go a long way toward lessening both of these, the stretches can be done both before and after gardening. But before you stretch make you’re your body is warm by taking a brisk stroll around the garden. You can stretch your back by lying on the floor, pulling your knees into your chest and wrapping your arms around them. Hold that position for a minute, relax and repeat 2 more times. Stretch your shoulders by dropping your head down to the side (ear to shoulder) and gentling pulling down with the opposite hand. Hold and repeat on the other side. Legs will benefit from a runners stretch such as bracing yourself on a counter top while you stretch first one leg behind you and then the other.

Here are some reminders for getting in gardening shape and staying there:

  • Pace yourself. Do the hard stuff first, before you’re tired out and more likely to overexert.
  • Don’t hunch. If you squat when you weed, keep your back as straight as possible and move along as you weed, don’t reach too far.
  • When lifting, always bend from the knees, not the waist, and try to keep your back straight. Use your thigh muscles to do the lifting. Move your feet closer to the object you are lifting and take a wide stance, to balance yourself. Keep the object close to you as you lift it.
  • Don’t lift and twist in the same movement.
  • Kneel on both knees at the same time to avoid the temptation to twist or strain. Use a knee pad.
  • Use tools with comfortable handles. Wrap the grip with an old piece of hose or coat with rubber paint, for gripping comfort. Remember to change hands from time to time.
  • When using long handled tools, stand straight and keep your knees relaxed. If you need to twist or pivot, step into the twist to ease tension on the back.
  • Get out that wheelbarrow or wagon and use it.

Car accidents

Rear-end car accidents are extremely common, traffic is crowded and unpredictable, and crashes are frequent. Recently a Canadian study found that a significant percentage of people injured in these types of crashes end up with some kind of chronic pain. The report was conducted at the University of Alberta, and it looked at 268 people who had suffered a grade 1 or 2 neck injury from a car crash. These are the least severe kinds of injury, as the scale also includes grade 3 and 4.

The patients were surveyed at 3 months, 6 months, and at 1 year post-injury, and they were asked, “Do you feel that you have recovered from your injuries?”


The above graph shows the percentage of patients who reported pain at the different time intervals. The study found that 1-year after the crash, 18% of patients still reported pain. This confirms what previous research has found. A British research paper from 2009 reported that as many as 5% of patients might have permanent disability from a crash, and that more than 5% have nagging symptoms, even 10 years or more after the initial injury.

It is common for people to wait to seek treatment. Most people think, “I’ll just wait to see how I feel next week.” This approach can be a mistake. A number of scientific studies show that when a patient gets early treatment soon after a crash, they have better outcomes than those patients who wait.

During a crash, the tissues of your neck can be stretched or torn. You may not feel pain right away but as the tissues become swollen and inflamed, patients often wake up the next day with a sore, stiff neck. Pain and stiffness are signs of trauma to the ligaments and muscles of your neck. The body’s response to injury is to restrict movement and to heal the injury by sending white blood cells to the area. Your body will then begin repairing the injured area by laying down scar tissue.

The problem with scar tissue is that each joint in your neck has a fairly limited range of motion. Scar tissue reduces that motion even more, and if you don’t receive proper treatment, that can result in permanent limited mobility, chronic pain, and even spinal degeneration of the joints. Getting early treatment will break up this pattern by increasing movement in the injured area and by preventing the development of scar tissue.

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider right away to prevent your symptoms from worsening. A doctor of chiropractic can help you recover from auto injuries like whiplash, headache, and neck pain.

Adapted from:


  • Ferrari R. A prospective study of the 1-year incidence of fibromyalgia after acute whiplash injury. Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Disease 2015; doi:10.1136/rmdopen-2014-000007.
  • Bannister G, Amirfeyz R, Kelley S, Gargan M. Whiplash injury. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2009;91B(7):845-850.
  • Rosenfeld M, Gunnarsson R, Borestein P. Early intervention in whiplash-associated disorders: a comparison of two treatment protocols. Spine 2000; 25(14): :1782-7.
  • Rosenfeld M, Seferiadis A, Carlsson J,and Gunnarsson R. Active intervention in patients with whiplash-associated disorders.Spine 2003; 28(22):2491-8.

Eating to reduce arthritic symptoms

How to Lower Inflammation in the Joints?

In orthodox medicine, inflammation of the joints is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Diclofenac (Voltaren) and ibuprofen (Nurofen). Although there is no single food or group of foods that can cure arthritis, the inflammatory response of the body can be lowered naturally by a change in diet.

Which Foods Provoke Arthritis?

Acid-forming foods provoke inflammation in the joints because the acids they produce irritates the condition. The most obvious example of this is the uric acid produced by the consumption of too much red meat and alcohol and how this can aggravate gout. Interestingly, it is believed by some that particular foods act as allergens that can trigger arthritis. Although no specific food has been implicated as a cause of arthritis it is known that foods can alter the function of the immune system.

Acid-forming food and drink and suspected ‘allergens’ include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy produce such as cows milk and cheese
  • Alcohol, coffee and fizzy drinks such as cola
  • Too much chocolate
  • Burned, barbecued, roasted and fried food, particularly those cooked in hot and burned fat
  • Highly-processed food and junk food
  • Nightshade vegetables (potatoes –not sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers e.g. paprika and Tabasco sauce)
  • Additives and preservatives
  • Too much sugar or salt

Food and Drink that will alleviate the Symptoms of Arthritis

Alkaline-forming food will gradually lower the inflammatory response of the body by leaving an alkaline residue in the body after being metabolised. These include:

  • Mineral water, green tea and soya smoothies
  • Most fruit and vegetables (oranges, berries, kiwi fruit, apples, cherries, prunes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, pineapple, beans, red grapes and sweet potatoes). Raw is more alkaline than cooked.
  • Herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, garlic, devils claw, cayenne pepper, cloves, parsley, licorice root)
  • Soya produce
  • Raw oils, such as flaxseed
  • Almonds
  • Wheat alternatives such as spelt and buckwheat

Which Acid-forming Foods are Healthy?

One needs to cut out most acid-forming food, not all, for the body cannot function properly on an entirely alkaline diet. Cutting out unhealthy acid-forming food and replacing them with a healthier substitute is a wise move and will not irritate the joints as much as the unhealthy option. Introduce slowly and monitor the body’s response if the condition is chronic. Healthy acid-forming foods include:

  • Nuts, raw not roasted (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts) and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds)
  • Oats
  • Chicken, turkey and fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring, trout, shellfish)
  • Eggs
  • Pulses and lentils
  • Wheat-free bread and cereals
  • Wild rice

Finally, excess body weight influences arthritis by putting extra strain on already burdened joints. It has been found that people who are 20% or more over normal body weight have more problems with their arthritis. Seemingly the weight bearing joints are most affected by carrying the extra weight. The extra load placed on the weight bearing joints (specifically the legs, feet, and spine) can increase the pain in those joints.