Now that spring is finally here, you’re no doubt going to spend time planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. From when the gardening season begins in spring and until the end of the summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.
Gardening is surprisingly hard on the body, particularly your lower back. It’s an enjoyable activity for many, but it’s important to treat it like a workout and stretch your muscles beforehand.
Consider some of these helpful tips to help you prevent back pain and other injuries when gardening.
– Warm up before you garden. A 10 minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up.
– Practice good posture. Always bend at the knees and keep your back straight when you pick something up. Never twist your body.
– Take breaks— 15 minutes for every hour — and stretch! Rest and hydrate!
– Switch up your activities. Do a little pruning, then digging, then maybe some weeding. The key is to vary your tasks frequently so that you’re not performing any repetitive motions for a long period of time.
– When you have to get down on the ground for work, consider a kneeling pad or better yet, a kneeler with arms to help you get back up.
– Keep a container full of your tools close by when you’re on your knees. You’ll have everything within arm’s reach so there’s less getting up and down.
– Choose tools with long handles so you don’t have to bend as much.
– Hire help. For heavier jobs, it can be worth getting some help!
– End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting.
If despite your best efforts, you end up with pain after gardening, call a chiropractor to schedule an appointment.