Spring is here, and with it comes yard work and back pain from gardening. Whether you’re a casual gardener who likes to keep your backyard neat and trim, an avid rose cultivator, or you grow your own vegetables, gardening back injuries can happen. Luckily, with the right choices, all of those activities can be safe and pain-free.
The first step to avoiding both gardening back pain and gardening injuries is to warm up. A few minutes of stretching can help prevent days of back pain. It’s even more important if you’re gardening with a bad back.
7 Tips for Safely Gardening with a Bad Back
Even if you have a healthy back, these tips can help you keep it that way. If you do have back pain, the following suggestions will make a big difference.
- Posture is Important
- Carry Smart
- Shift Positions
- Sit Down
- Consider Raised Beds
- Use The Right Garden Tools
- Take Regular Breaks
Using good posture when you pick up bags of soil and other heavy items is crucial. Lift with your legs and bend your knees instead of leaning over and putting strain on your back. Do not twist while lifting. If you have a bad back and your gardening involves lots of lifting, consider using a weight belt to support your lower back – but talk to your doctor or chiropractor first to make sure it’s the right solution for your needs.
When digging (or shoveling snow), good posture and body alignment is also important. Use your body weight as leverage. Be sure to use your whole body when emptying the shovel instead of just your arm strength. While twisting your body seems easier and more efficient, it can lead to a disc injury.
If you’re moving heavy items, hold them close to your body and move slowly while carrying them.
If you’re doing repetitive tasks like weeding and planting, make sure you change positions regularly. It’s also better to switch positions regularly as you move down a row instead of twisting to continue planting or weeding.
Sitting can be easier on your back while weeding. If you do, sit on your “sitz bones” and avoid rounding your back if you reach forward to weed.
If you kneel to plant or weed, buy a padded kneeler with handles. It’s well worth it to spare your knees and the handles will make standing up easier.
A lot of strain and back pain can be minimized if your planting area isn’t on the ground. It won’t be a solution for all situations, but worth considering where possible.
If you have a good-sized property, consider getting a wheelbarrow for moving heavy items. Use a hose or set up sprinklers (permanent or temporary) instead of lugging a heavy water can. Consider tools with long handles to minimize or eliminate leaning over.
Even better, drink water when you take a break so that you stay hydrated. Reapply sunscreen and/or bug spray as needed. Experts recommend a break every 20-30 minutes, even if it’s only to shift tasks and change positions.
Talk to Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness
If you overdid it in the garden or are having any other aches or pains, chiropractic care can help. Just contact us at Total Chiropractic Care. You will receive a comprehensive evaluation to determine if it’s the right solution for your needs and when. Your Medford chiropractor, Dr. Goldman will create a treatment plan that incorporates pain management services as well as general lifestyle recommendations to help you live the best life you can. Contact us today.