Gardening Advice – Back Pain

Before you start gardening it is important to have some simple gardening advice. Start by warming up muscles and joints by performing simple stretching exercises.  Start with smaller, less stressful jobs, and take regular breaks.

  • It is a good idea to kneel down to do your planting, place both knees on a knee pad or kneeler. You can even use an old cushion or blanket. This avoids excessive bending in the spine and cummulative stress with prolonged postures.
  • Rather than using a large spade to dig use a smaller one, this way you will put less strain on your back by lifting lighter loads. Avoid twisting movements.
  • Avoid repetitive strain injuries by switching tasks.
  • When lifting anything remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight (not rigid). If using a hover mower, you should push it in front of you and face the direction in which you are cutting the grass, rather than swinging it from side to side.
  • Use strong arm and thigh muscles to push and pull heavy objects, as opposed to using your back. If a load is too heavy, lighten it and make more than one trip, or recruit someone else to help you lift or pull.
  • Consider using long-handled tools since you won’t need to bend over as far and use slow, deliberate movements instead of rough or jerky ones. Tools with smaller blades that weigh less may also help you avoid straining your muscles.
  • Alternate tasks in your garden so that you are not working on the same one for extended periods of time. As is the case with avoiding a sore back, stand up and stretch frequently.
  • Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself so that you don’t rush to try complete a huge project in a short period of time, which can cause you to over-work and lead to injuiries and pain.

If you experience back pain as a result of gardening, please contact the City of London Chiropractor Clinic on 0800 043 7105

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