September 2012 
The Pain Center |  Live More Comfortably  |  eNewsletter Header
We hope this note finds you continuing to do well and living your valued life. The article below by Linda Velding, our Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant at the Pain Center, can help you maximize your ability to function.

Safe Gardening 



Gardening is a popular and can be a pleasurable activity for many people from spring to fall. Often times we hear that patients have given up this hobby which was a pleasurable activity for them secondary to pain or fear of injury. This doesn't need to be the case. There are several adaptations that can be made to help reduce the risk of injury/pain. Here are just a few:


  • Limit Bending: Instead of bending when pulling weeds try kneeling on a kneeling pad, squatting, or sitting on a garden stool or take a 5 gallon bucket and turn it upside down to sit on. There are also long handled ergonomic gardening tools that help to loosen the weeds, making them easier to pull.
  • Lifting: Lift with the legs not the back to pick up bags of topsoil, mulch or pots. Keep the back in neutral to take the stress off the back, shoulders and neck.   Holding the load close to the body helps to lessen the load, decreasing the stress on the arms, neck and back.
  • Kneeling: Kneeling while planting, pulling weeds or harvesting with protection of a cushion protects the knees. Prolonged kneeling and not using a kneeler causes the joints to swell and ache. Remember to keep close to your work, moving often and changing positions.
  • Reaching: Keep close to your work without twisting or bending to decrease reaching when trimming, pruning or hanging plants. Try to work close to the body and uses long handled pruners if reaching above the shoulder or pull the branch down to prune. When mowing the lawn, keep arms in close to the body and use legs/body weight to push the mower.
  • Standing: Keep a wide stance with knees relaxed and arms in close to the body when watering plants.
  • Twisting: When raking, shoveling, and mowing make sure you are moving your feet and pivoting, not twisting at the waist.
  • Sitting: When sitting to weed or harvest fruits or vegetables from the garden, make sure to keep back in neutral, keep arms in close to the body by moving frequently, and bend from the hips supporting body weight with one arm on the thigh.


Always remember to pace gardening activities and stretch and change positions frequently.  




News & Updates


discussing the importance of focusing on valued living while in pain and one of our graduate successes (from the WGVU Morning Show with Shelly Irwin).



More than the programs ...
At The Pain Center, all of our doctor's and therapists see patients outside of the programs. If you have a new injury, significant stressor, severe pain flare-up or need to adjust your home exercise program - come back to the team that you trust. We're happy to help.


Have a question about a flare up?
You are still a part of The Pain Center family. If you ever have a question, please give us a call at 616.233.3480 and we'd be happy to answer it.



Nicole DeHaan, PT
Physical Therapist 
The Pain Center at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
In This Issue
Safe Gardening
News & Upates
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