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Avoid growing pains in the garden

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

As we enter into the spring months, many people will soon be dusting off the lawnmower and garden tools for the first time this year. However, every year more than 400,000 people in the UK need medical attention because of accidents they have had in the garden.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy's website is now carrying a new feature offering advice and information on how to be safer in the garden.

Chartered physiotherapist Gwyn Owen, a professional adviser with the CSP, said: 'Most people do not consider gardening an exercise, but it is hard work and after a long winter break, few people are physically prepared for it.

'Physiotherapists across the country will be seeing people with aches, pains, and strains picked up in the garden, and in many cases these could be avoided by following a few simple tips, such as stretching and warming up muscles before you start gardening.'

Many people end up with an aching back after spending hours stooping over flower beds to weed and plant.

Gwyn said: 'This can be avoided by getting down close to the work - use a kneeling mat or special knee-pads so that you are not straining yourself. And when you are digging, take the strain with your legs rather than your back. Don't stay in the same position for too long as it puts a strain on your whole body. Either do something which requires a different working position, or take a break and have a small rest.'

The type of tools you use are also very important.

Gwyn said: 'Make sure that the tools you buy are suitable for you. You may be able to lift a spade in the shop, but remember, in the garden you will be using it to shovel earth - will it be too heavy for you then?'

The CSP's website address is www.csp.org.uk. The website also holds an information leaflet on caring for your back, including back strengthening exercises.
 
Ends

Notes to editors

1. Physiotherapy is the fourth largest health profession in the country and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 35,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.

For more information, please contact the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 28

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