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“Don’t let winter stop you from gardening and enjoying your landscape,” says expert horticulturalist Melinda Myers. And don’t let pain stop you, either! Download APM’s new Weed out the Pain: Winter Home and Garden Edition for tips and ideas on maintaining your plants and your health during these cold winter months, as well as ideas on exciting pain-fighting recipes and crafts.

Brave the Outdoors

Winter is a difficult time in the Midwest, since the cold weather often keeps us indoors – and away from our gardens. It’s also a hard time for people with pain, since the frigid temperatures and difficult winter chores can often increase pain. But winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your hobbies – even gardening – and, if done right, your outdoor chores don’t have to be a source of pain. Melinda’s advice on winterizing your landscape, paired with expert injury prevention advice from pain management providers, can help you enjoy winter and reduce your pain in the process.

For instance, Melinda recommends that after it snows, people should shovel first, then use a plant-friendly deicing salt. This way, you use less salt, making it better for your budget and your landscape. And while shoveling, switch sides often in order to avoid muscle fatigue or strain. It’s better for your back and means less chance of injury.

Staying Inside

But you don’t even have to go outside to experience the benefits of gardening. “Whether it’s the plants you brought in for winter, a new houseplant or greens on a windowsill, gardening helps reduce stress and elevate our mood,” says Melinda.

Melinda suggests growing an array of microgreens as an easy and nutritious gardening project this winter. Radish, mustard and spicy microgreens can give a spicy zip to your meals, and sunflower and popcorn microgreens have a delectable nutty flavor. 

Speaking of delectable meals, winter’s the perfect time to stock up your pantry with foods that fight pain – like cherries, ginger and peppers – and add them to a warm slow-cooked meal. The winter toolkit provides nine unique, tasty dishes to curb your hunger and decrease your pain, like this slow cooker creamy chicken and mint curry from Food 52. The refreshing addition of mint can actually help reduce inflammation and decrease headaches and general aches and pains.

After you’ve eaten, try your hand at some of the exciting winter- and nature-themed crafts in the toolkit, which not only help you brighten your home during the dull winter months, but can also help you fight pain.

Learn More

To get these expert tips from Melinda and APM’s pain management professionals, in addition to an array of pain-fighting recipes and winter crafts – download the Weed out the Pain: Winter Home and Garden Edition now!

Published in Gardening
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 02:55

Crafting with Chronic Pain

Did you know that making crafts can actually help decrease your arthritis and joint pain? It’s true. “Just like with any body part, hands with arthritis need to be moved,” says physical therapist Inna Kuznetsov. Physical therapist Courtney Wack agrees, explaining that joints can stiffen when they’re not moved for long periods. “Movement and exercise can increase synovial fluid productions, which can improve joint function and decrease pain” she says.

Any crafts that include kneading, crocheting or painting with larger-size brushes can be particularly helpful, says Kuznetsov, as can activities like making puzzles, playing cards or gardening.

Hand and Wrist Stretches

To reduce pain during other crafting activities, consider incorporating some simple hand and wrist stretches and exercises to loosen up your joints.

  • Wrist Flexor Stretch: Raise your left arm in front of you, keeping it parallel to the floor with your elbow straight. Grasp you left hand with your right, and slowly bend your fingers back until you feel a stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
  • Wrist Extensor Stretch: With your left arm in front of you and your elbow straight, grasp your left hand with your right and slowly bend your hand down until you feel a stretch. Hold 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
  • Finger Opposition: Actively touch your right thumb to each fingertip. Start with your index finger and end with your little finger. Move slowly at first, then more rapidly as motion and coordination improve. Perform for 30-60 seconds with each hand.
  • Towel Roll Squeeze: Roll up a small towel and place it in your right hand. With your right forearm resting on a table or other surface, gently squeeze the towel 10 times. Repeat on the left side.
  • Paper Crumpling Exercise: Begin with your right palm down on a piece of paper. While maintaining contact between the surface and the heel of your hand, crumple the paper into a ball.

While these stretches are a good place to start, says physical therapist Heather Schroeder, “further assessment is always needed by a physical therapist to determine more specific exercises for your condition.”

Preventing Neck and Back Pain

In addition to arthritis and joint pain, crafting can affect neck pain and back pain. To decrease your chances of experiencing these types of pain, make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable chair or couch that is high enough from the floor so that your hips are higher than your knees. This position will allow your body to maintain a better posture. Sitting for long periods in a chair that’s too low makes your back curve, which puts more pressure on your spine and can cause increased back or neck pain.

When completing a project that may take long periods of time, remember to get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so. The joints in your hands aren’t the only ones that need lubrication. Take some time to stretch your back and legs.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

Published in Weed-Out-the-Pain

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