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What’s Going Around – Gardener’s Back

I don’t think that’s really an official term, but I see it every spring. Planting, mulching, raking, and toting bags of soil takes its toll. Back pain from bending and lifting is especially hard on seniors who otherwise enjoy gardening. Ladies with weaker bones from osteoporosis are common victims.

Signs and Symptoms: An aching back at the end of the day is like to indicate muscle strain. Sudden pain or popping in the back is more worrisome for disc injury or even fracture of a vertebra. Injury to nearby sciatic nerves can cause numbness or tingling down the leg.

What to do: Back strain will usually resolve with time, rest and an anti-inflammatories. If the pain is severe, or radiates down the leg, see your doctor to check for fracture or injury to discs or nerves. Learn to lift with a straight back and get help for the heavy work. Put potted plants on benches to avoid excessive bending.

Thought for the day: Gardening is more fun without the folly. Know your limits, and use that dolly!

What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at

Dr. Kyle Scarborough Dr. Kyle Scarborough is a family medicine physician at Family Life Medical in Conroe, Texas. Dr. Scarborough offers care for the entire family, including wellness exams, diabetes care, hypertension treatment, geriatric care, well woman exam, school physicals, and pre-ops and hospital follow ups.

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