Enjoy your garden, protect your back

Fraser Ferguson is offering some handy back care tips.
Fraser Ferguson is offering some handy back care tips.
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Scotland’s gardeners are being advised to look after their backs as well as their lawns through the summer months.

As the better weather allows people to spend more time outdoors tackling jobs in the garden, NHS 24 is reminding people that a few simple precautions can help to prevent any back or shoulder injuries as a result of their efforts.

NHS 24 Physiotherapist and Musculoskeletal lead Fraser Ferguson says it is a common injury but can be avoided: “We get a lot of calls to our 111 service about back pain, often caused by day to day activities such as gardening. We have a team of physiotherapists that can help people with simple exercises to help alleviate the pain.

“Most back trouble resolves itself after a few weeks and can be managed with pain relief and movement but it’s important to remember that most injuries can be avoided in the first place.

“If you’re not used to exercise such as digging or raking in the garden take it easy and try not to over- exert. When planting out seedlings avoid crouching in the same position for too long and take care when standing up. If you’re doing any lifting such as using a wheelbarrow make sure your legs take the strain - bend your back, knees and hips slightly but do not stoop or squat.”

More information about back care is available on Scotland’s health information website, NHS inform (www.nhsinform.co.uk/msk/). There is also a free app ‘MSK Help’ to download to your phone or tablet to help with gentle exercise and stretching to alleviate any symptoms.

People who suffer an injury (which is not an emergency) are advised to contact their GP or NHS 24 on 111 (if their GP is closed).