Amber Belt, ND
Who can’t wait to get their hands dirty in the garden this summer? Or maybe you’re weed whacking, wheelbarrowing, or doing some other type of Weekend Warrior activity. Whatever it is, I really hope it gets you outside!
One of the most common pain issues I see at this time of year has to do with manual labor in the garden or yard. Like clockwork, patients come to me with pain from gardening or raking or other outdoor work! And most of this pain is in the back and the wrists/hands.
In this article, I thought that I’d try to help you get ahead of the game and give you some tips and tricks to get rid of back or hand pain. No one needs a trip into the Medical Matrix for muscle relaxers or a steroid because pain got the better of them. There are many, many natural strategies to try to keep you out of the sickcare system. Let me tell you about some of my favorites!
Arnica Liniment is one of my favorite topical pain relievers. It rolls on and dries quickly, which I prefer over a sticky salve. It also will heat up once you start moving your muscles again. It has arnica, wintergreen, cayenne, and other herbs that make it a winner. You can click here to check it out.
Ruta graveloens is a homeopathic that works well for pain management in small joints, such as the wrists and ankles. I also like Ruta for eye strain after too much time on the computer.
Rhus toxicondendron is another homeopathic remedy that is good for helping joints that are stiff with first movement, but they loosen up with movement…sort of like the Tin Man! I find that it really helps arthritic joints, such as hands and knees, that feel better after the person is up and about for a bit.
A PEMF mat is my new favorite tool to decrease my back pain, as well as help my focus and sleep. PEMF stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field and the mat provides infared heat to relax and soothe muscles. The PEMF can be adjusted to help the brain with better sleep and more focus, which has been great for me. I have noticed a big difference in my recovery after workouts with the mat. Click here to learn more!
Tetracumin QR is my all-time favorite curcumin (turmeric) supplement to help decrease pain. I have found that it works far better than other turmeric supplements for acute pain over and over again with patients and myself. Tetracumin QR can be found through Fullscript.
Anti-spasmodic herbs such as California poppy, passionflower, kava kava, valerian, lemon balm, ginger, and wild yam can be combined to make powerful medicine for muscle tightness and spasm. Formulas such as Cramp Plus by Progena or Muscle Calm by Professional Formulas can be found through Fullscript or you can visit your local herb store to find a locally crafted tincture to address muscle spasm.
Alternating hot and cold. This is more for the wrists and hands, but it could also be done for the back with hot and cold water in the shower. This hydrotherapy treatment brings blood flow to the hands and wrists with the hot water and flushes it out with the cold water. It works so well for managing pain and stiffness. Click here to get the handout I created!
Not overdoing it. Ok, this might sound obvious, but we all overdo things sometimes. If you are out of shape and you know that yardwork will be a big stretch for your muscles, break it into smaller bits so that you aren’t causing yourself unnecessary suffering.
Another thing that patients find handy is to restart any rehab exercises that may have been prescribed to them in the past for their back, hands, knees, etc. People will often forget that they have these exercises available and just need a reminder to start them again to get some relief.
I hope your summer is full of outdoor time and that the tips above help you enjoy it with minimal pain. Take care of yourself and stay out of the Medical Matrix for those gardening injuries if you can!
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Dr. Belt is a doctor, but she is not YOUR doctor. Consult a trained naturopathic doctor/functional medicine doctor to ensure safety and suitability based on your health and history.