Do I know to bend at the knee? Was I born yesterday? Of course I know to do that!. Ditto doing regular exercises to strengthen the big muscles that take the load off our tired old back muscles when we're working hard. (I use weights and Pilates.)
Now about stretching before gardening, do YOU do that? I confess that I don't and my excuse (other than always being in a big hurry to get to work in the garden) is the conflicting advice I've read – to always warm up the muscles before stretching them. Makes sense to me! But is there a chance in hell I'd start my daily gardening work with a one-mile walk followed by a stretching session before picking up a single tool? You know the answer.
So now that I've revealed back health program, such as it is, I'll mosey around to the subject of how I managed to put myself out of commission for a while, and it involves the one back-safety rule that goes without saying. To wit: when in pain, stop doing whatever you're doing. Really, really obvious, but that's the rule I broke. But ya know, when guests are coming for lunch and the front yard's a mess, not to mention the deck where we'll be having lunch, you keep at it for just a little longer.
So this week in preparation for the first-ever brown-bag-lunch meeting of the new Self-Employed Support Group in my town, I overdid, to put it mildly. To the point that support-group members had to wait on me. And lots of ice packs and some serious drugs later, I'm able to dress myself but not without everything hurting like hell. Bitch, moan, repeat.
About the Support Group
On the bright side, how about that Self-Employed Support Group notion, huh? Everyone took turns asking the group for ideas about whatever business challenge we happen to be facing – how to get more clients, more writing gigs, more advertisers, how much to charge, and so on – and got lots of great ideas. All good people with good ideas, and we're neighbors, so getting together is no hassle. (Metro D.C. traffic is ugly, really ugly.)
Best Advice for Back Pain
And eager to get the absolute best advice for lower back pain, I googled those words and found, among the typical Internet drek, this information from the National Institutes of Health, and it was just what I needed. Ice for three days, THEN heat. Anti-inflammatories. No bedrest. Anonymous writers in little-known government agency, thank you!
Full disclosure: my friend Pam J was one of those anonymous writers and later editors for various of the National Institutes of Health for 35 or so years. Just like the writer of this low-back-pain piece, she distilled medical information and advice from the scientists into super-usable form for the public. Now entering her second year of retirement bliss, she's become as obsessed a gardener as any I know. Also a lover of worms and weeds, (and clearly, of blogs and blogging), and I hear tell she's lobbying her husband for chickens!