How to Save Your Back While Gardening
Gardening is an amazing and cathartic summer activity. Working with your hands in the outdoors and providing food for yourself and for your family is a practice that goes back thousands of years. While you most likely try your best to use good posture and take care of yourself during other activities during the day, it can be hard to remember to apply that same care when working outside in the hot sun. Unfortunately, during the peak gardening months of the year, most chiropractors see a rise in new patients complaining of back pain as well as other posture and fatigue-related issues. But there are some pretty simple things you can put into practice today that will help you to avoid injury and discomfort while gardening.
- Avoid bending over from the hips. Some gardeners develop a habit of bending at the hips or stooping to pull weeds and trim their plants. While this posture may seem more convenient it’s actually putting a ton of strain on your spine and supporting muscles in your lower back. The simple solution would be to instead of bending over, kneel down and use padding to protect your knees.
- When you are planning out your garden in the spring months, it’s a good opportunity to start thinking about how easy your garden will be to access. If you are building a container garden, consider raising the beds by using wooden frames or stilts. The higher the beds are the easier it will be to access your plants and water them all while saving energy and using good posture. Another thing to consider is the use of long-handled or telescopic tools. These tools are typically created for users with limited mobility, but they can also be used by gardeners to reduce the amount they will have to bend and twist.
- Change positions all the time. It’s easy to focus entirely on what you are doing in the garden and forget to change positions. And when you finally do remember to switch up your position it will most likely result in a limb that’s asleep or painful stiffness. If you are not confident you will remember to change positions more frequently, you can always use a small digital timer. The reason for changing positions is to spread the strain of garden labor onto multiple muscle groups, thereby eliminating the risk of overtaxing one muscle group.
- Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. The time that you spend resting is just as important as the time you spend working in your garden. Most of the pains, aches, and muscle strain associated with yard work or garden labor can easily be avoided by taking frequent breaks in a cool place and drinking plenty of water. Another thing you can do if you prefer a more active rest is a stretching routine. Stretching not only helps us to relax and refocus, but it will also protect you from pulling muscles or overextending yourself.
If you are experiencing pain this summer, or would like a consultation on the best practices for gardening, come by our Campbell or Austell offices today and see our experienced and friendly team. We want to ensure that you spend your summer free of injury and with a flourishing garden.