How to Avoid Back Pain While Gardening This Summer
Hooray! It’s gardening season once again. The prospect of flower beds and garden vegetables call us to prepare the soil and plant the seeds. While we certainly take pleasure in getting outside, the physical work that is necessary to maintain a garden can be hard on the joints of our bodies. Many people find that they experience pain and discomfort in their joints and low back after a weekend or two of overzealous gardening and yard maintenance.
In the spirit of helping you to enjoy your time outdoors to its fullest extent, here are a few tips to make gardening easier:
- If possible, carry heavy loads with a wheelbarrow. Why strain muscles in the shoulders and neck unnecessarily?
- Treat yourself to a Garden Claw or other similar device. These are quite effective tools that allow you to stand for weeding and breaking up garden beds. Standing as much as possible helps to maintain a more optimal position of your back and helps you to avoid straining the muscles and joints of your spine.
- Wear kneepads or use a padded mat to kneel on. They help to protect your knees from wear and tear as you weed or complete other tasks.
- Use a watering wand instead of watering cans to water hanging planters and flower boxes. Holding less weight reduces strain on your shoulders and the back of your neck.
- Ask for help. If you have someone else at home, get help to move heavy objects. Many low back injuries result from lifting heavy loads and twisting at the same time. If you need to move something heavy on your own, make sure to keep the load as close to your body as possible, crouch down with a straight back and lift with your legs.
- Take breaks often and stretch. A simple way to stretch is to move your body in the opposite direction of the activity you have just completed. For example, if you have been bending forward over a flower bed for a long time, simply stand up and gently bend backwards to a comfortable position (be careful not to overdo it) and let your back unwind.
By using some of the above suggestions, you can avoid injury to your low back, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists. If you do find that your injuries are not healing, please consult with a chiropractor near you.