The Winter months may well be upon us, however, this doesn’t mean there are no gardening tasks to get done! Whilst time you spend in the garden can be beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing gardening can be taxing on the back whatever time of the year it is undertaken!
Gardening involves a lot of bending over as you pull up weeds, sow bulbs, check plants, and harvest crops, which can place strain on the lower back. Gardeners also have to lift heavy objects fairly regularly, including bags of soil, fertiliser, and garden tools.
Our chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke on Trent often treat gardeners who have suffered a back strain while working in their garden. Our chhiropractors help them by making spinal adjustments, performing soft tissue therapy, and recommending lifestyle changes which encourage healing.
However, at the end of the day, prevention is better than a cure.
Our Stoke chiro shares some of the best tips for gardening without getting a sore back
Warm up before you start
Although gardening seems like a safe, low-impact activity, it can place a lot of strain on the muscles and joints. Prepare your body by performing stretches which warm up the back and shoulders.
Lift heavy objects carefully
Gardening often involves lifting heavy objects like garden pots, bags of fertiliser, buckets of compost, and watering cans. It is crucial that you lift these heavy objects safely. To lift safely:
- Stand close to the heavy object you intend to lift
- Squat down using your legs to reach it instead of bending over
- Use both hands to grasp the object
- Keep the object close to your body as you slowly straighten your legs
You can also look for ways to minimise the amount of lifting you perform in the garden each day, including:
- Using hoses and irrigation instead of carting water
- Using a wheelbarrow to push/drag/carry heavy items instead of lifting them
- Limiting the distance that you carry heavy items
- Making use of raised garden beds and benches, so you don’t have to bend down when handling heavy objects
Take regular breaks
To avoid excessive soreness, you should break up strenuous activities with breaks. You can use your breaks to stretch, have a cup of tea, or participate in a less intensive activity. This is particularly important when you are carrying out activities that involve a lot of bending over, like weeding or planting. The more difficult the task, the more frequently you need to have a break.
Use a kneeler seat
There are several tools available which make gardening a more comfortable activity. Kneeler seats are one of the best tools because they allow you to kneel as you perform activities like weeding, planting bulbs or sowing seeds. Kneeling is much better for your back than continually bending over.
Use specialised gardening tools
Purchase some long handled gardening tools so you don’t need to bend over as much while gardening. They can dramatically reduce the amount of back strain you experience when performing tasks like weeding and digging.
Use vertical gardens and raised bed gardens
Gardening doesn’t have to involve kneeling on the ground or bending over. You can grow plants on walls or in raised garden beds. Gardening this way means you will rarely need to bend over, which will reduce the risk of lower back injuries.
Get help with difficult tasks
If you are struggling with certain tasks in the garden, ask for help. A fit friend or family member could help you get the job done and you can avoid a great deal of pain. Recruiting help for the job can also be a great opportunity to socialise with someone you care about. It’s better to ask for help instead of winding up at our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent with a painful injury!
Visit a chiropractor in Stoke on Trent
If you recently finished a big day of gardening and experienced back soreness that persisted for more than a couple of days, make a booking with one of our chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke on Trent.
A chiropractor will be able to assess your back to determine if you have injured it or are simply suffering from a muscle strain. If you have injured it, they will be able to start you on a program involving spinal adjustments, physical therapy and lifestyle changes. They can also provide you with useful tips for looking after your back and give you an exercise regime that strengthens important muscles.
You can also find videos with advice for keeping you back safe when gardening and also when Lifting and carrying on the Pain Prevention page of our website.
If you are suffering back pain you can book an appointment with one of our chiropractors by call us on 01782 848 184 or you can book online at our website here.