How to Avoid Back Pain When Gardening


Gardening and Back Pain

Avoiding Back Pain When Gardening

If you are like me, the incessant rain over the past two months has meant that much of the heavy gardening jobs have been stacking up and now that the sun is shining it is time to get on with tidying up, digging and planting.

I have been digging up part of my lawn area at the end of my garden to make a vegetable patch.  Initially, my muscles ached for days afterwards but now I am noticing that I am fitter and able to work for much longer without the same discomfort afterwards.  I much prefer being outside doing a workout than being in the gym and gardening can prove a valuable form of exercise.

I thought some tips on how to avoid back pain when gardening might be helpful.

  1. Muscles work better when warm so wear layers of clothing that can be removed as you become warmer.
  2. Begin with lighter tasks first to get your body used to moving then change to activities requiring more strength.
  3. Pace yourself if you are doing repetitive tasks such as digging, take regular breaks and put more layers on when resting to prevent getting cold.
  4. Muscles need water to work effectively so ensure that you keep well hydrated, particularly if you are working up a sweat.
  5. Ensure that your tools are the correct size and weight.  Ladies might prefer to use border spades and forks that are lighter and smaller than general ones.
  6. Use good quality tools that besides lasting longer are more efficient and require less energy.  High quality saw blades and stainless steel tools are ideal.
  7. Use tools ergonomically to minimise the stress on your body.  Position yourself correctly to avoid twisting and thereby promoting effective muscle strength and endurance.
  8. When moving things around the garden, carry the weight equally on both sides or use a wheelbarrow instead.

Much of this is really common sense but all too often it is easy to get consumed by the task in hand and to imagine that we are invincible.  However, should you fall victim to the ill effects of a gardening frenzy and have back pain, there are some useful first aid measures that can be taken.

  1. In my experience, acute back pain often responds well to the application of regular icepacks.  In the absence of a bespoke pack, a bag of frozen peas will suffice, wrap in a tea towel and apply to the affected area for 10-15 mins.  Reapply when the skin has regained its normal temperature.
  2. Keep active to keep the joints and muscle mobile and assist with fluid drainage and circulation.
  3. Call Hiltingbury Chiropractic on 023 8027 3545 for further advice.
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