Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center Blog

Timely news about NMSMC and the sports medicine industry.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.

Spring Cleaning: Viva Variety

Posted by on
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Spring Cleaning: Viva Variety

Depending on what time of day I check the weather, spring is either just around the corner or months away. Regardless, its going to warm-up sometime soon, and that means people will be bursting outdoors to start raking, planting, and trimming around their yards and gardens.

It usually takes about 2-3 nice weekends for the trickle of sore backs, shoulders, necks, and elbows to begin to flow into our physical therapy office. Almost universally, one of the first things I hear when I ask what brought on patient’s current malady is some version of ‘I spent 9 hours on my hands and knees on Saturday, and on Sunday I couldn’t get out of bed. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but it was just so nice to be outside’.

I’ve written several of these pre-spring clean-up columns in the past several years with the same advice, but I’ve got a feeling that this year is going to be different. This is the year that my readers are going to plan ahead and have a pain-free spring. So, before you need to pay your physical therapist a visit due to a new ache or pain, join me in making this year different!

Viva Variety

There isn’t anything inherently risky about the movements we perform when working in the yard and garden. Instead, it often comes down to a matter of volume (repetitions). If you’re a regular exerciser, I’ll put it this way: not every day can be shoulder day. The best way to prevent repetitive strain injuries like bursitis and tendonitis is to change the type of activity you are performing every hour or two.

Do some planting on your hands and knees for a bit, go rake some grass, then grab a few pieces of deck furniture. The next thing you know it will be lunch time. Rotating between those tasks will help you avoid straining your muscles and tendons by avoiding any single movement for too long.

Warm it up

There are several movements commonly performed during yard work that are out of the ordinary for most people’s daily routine. The repetitive twisting while raking and the prolonged forward bending while working in the garden or flower beds are two good examples. Our bodies are not as conditioned to these movements, so we are more susceptible to injury when performing them.

To reduce the chance of injury, take a page from a sports team’s book. We don’t think twice about doing some light cardio and stretching before engaging in other athletic activities, and yard work should be no different. A great way to start the day would be with a brisk 5-15 minute walk and some stretches that move several body parts at the same time. This will help prepare your muscles and tendons for the day ahead.

Its as easy as that. I hope that this is just the motivation you need to start your spring cleaning off on a healthy note. Remember, this year is going to be different!

Jeff Samyn is a Physical Therapist, board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center in Petoskey. He can be reached via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This information is not to be considered medical advice and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional.

Quick Contact

Home office Petoskey West Clinic
Phone (231) 347-9300        Email
Petoskey East (231) 348-7950
Harbor Springs (231) 348-7002
Charlevoix (231) 547-0380
Boyne City (231) 459-4750
Indian River (231) 238-4880
Cheboygan (231) 627-7201

Become a Sports Med Member

Member benefits: 1 month free gym membership each year, 10% off all wellness programs, Free E-Consultations, Free E-Newsletters

Health & Healing Newsletters

Petoskey, Petoskey East & Boyne City

Our Petoskey clinic is located within the Bay Street Orthopedic building, 4048 Cedar Bluff Drive. 231-347-9300 [map]

Our Petoskey East clinic is located on the corner of Mitchell & Division, 345 N. Division 231-348-7950.[map]

Our Boyne City Clinic is located in the SOBO district, 210 S Lake Street 231-459-4750 map

Charlevoix & Cheboygan

Our Charlevoix clinic is located in the Kmart Plaza, at 06510 M-66, 231-547-0380 [map] 

Our Cheboygan clinic is located south of town, 9445 N Straits Hwy, 231-627-7201 [map]

Harbor Springs & Indian River

Our Harbor Springs clinic is located next the Harbor Springs airport, 8452 M-119 Harbor Plaza, 231-348-7002. [map]                                        

Our Indian River clinic is right in the heart of downtown, 3805 South Straits Hwy, 231-238-4880. [map]