As Marpole Physiotherapy Clinic gets ready to welcome the warmer weather, we wanted to reach out with a few tips for those of you who will inevitably begin the process of spring cleaning both inside and outside the home.

Lawn mowing, raking, cleaning out your gutters, and gardening are all activities that can cause muscle strain to the lower back, neck, and shoulders. A strained muscle occurs when we overdo an activity that we are not accustomed to performing. For example, we may perform hundreds of back-and-forth motions to clear and dig out our garden beds with a rake, hoe, or shovel. This repetitive activity creates micro-trauma to the muscles leading to inflammation and pain. In most cases the pain should stop within 24-48 hours; but in some cases the pain does not go away and it is time to consult with a physiotherapist. Our physiotherapists are highly-educated, licensed health-care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility — in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications.


At Marpole Physiotherapy Clinic we take pride in the time we spend with hands-on techniques. Everyone receives 30 minutes of hands-on manual therapy treatments, which improves joint/soft tissue mobility and decreases pain levels by reducing abnormal stress on the tissues. The program we design for you will be specific to your needs and will focus on improving strength, flexibility, and conditioning.

Tips to avoid spring-time back injuries;

  1. Lift smaller loads of dirt or leaves rather than heavy shovelfuls. Take care to bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than with your back.
  2. Use a shovel, rake, or hoe with a handle that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short handle will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a device that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
  3. Step in the direction in which you are tossing the dirt or leaves to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help avoid the “next-day back fatigue”.