Dr. Susan Knight-Nanni
How to Avoid Back Pain While Gardening
The cost of a healthy and beautiful garden can be staggering. Back pain from planting, weeding, and tending to your flowers can turn this relaxing activity into a massive chore. So how do you avoid this pain while pursuing your passion? Let’s find out together.
1. Follow a Warm up Routine
Like any physical activity, gardening requires an appropriate warm up session to get your heart pumping and your muscles ready for the work ahead. Make sure your warm up consists of dynamic stretches focusing on your back and neck, as well as light exercise like walking or jogging.
These warm up activities allow you to bend, lift, crouch, kneel, and stand, with greater flexibility and less strain.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Pacing yourself ensures that you do not overextend your abilities during gardening. Take short breaks every 30-60 minutes, using this time to take deep breaths, stretch your muscles and hydrate (more on this below).
3. Drink Water
When you are properly hydrated, your muscles can function at optimum levels, allowing you to perform strenuous tasks without cramping and fatigue. Make sure you drink enough water before you start gardening, and carry a bottle of water with you to replenish what you are losing through sweat.
4. Maintain Suitable Lifting Techniques
Unsuitable lifting techniques put undue stress on your back and joints, causing acute and chronic aches and pains. Modifying the way you carry heavy equipment and pots can go a long way in easing the strain you are putting on your back while gardening.
Suitable lifting techniques involve: bending from your hips, lifting with your legs and core, keeping your back straight, and carrying the object near to your body.
Remember, if an object is too heavy to carry, ask for help.
5. Use Back-Friendly Gardening Tools
There are plenty of tools and equipment that can make gardening much more pleasurable, by helping you avoid excessive bending, stretching and carrying. These tools include long reach pruners, retractable hoses, supportive waterproof shoes (you can also insert arch supports and cushioned inner soles), weed eaters, and kneeling pads.
6. Switch Activities
Repetitive movements can result in a repetitive strain injury (RSI). To avoid this, it is advised that you switch activities as you garden, allowing different muscle groups to relax. For example, once you are done weeding one section of your garden, prune your hedge before weeding a different section of your garden.
By following the tips given above, you can minimize the physical impact that gardening has on your body. If you are already struggling with acute and chronic pain, schedule your chiropractic appointment today and receive professional guidance.