Tips to Preventing Back Pain When Gardening
As April and early May approach, many of us will start tilling our gardens, planting, shoveling, and carrying pots. However, like most during the winter, we have been less active in our normal outdoor and exercise routines. So, when we begin to garden, there are reports of back and leg pain, spasms, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. Gardening is hard work but also fun to do!
So how do you prevent your back from hurting while continuing to enjoy gardening and the vegetables and fruits you produce?
Try to follow these simple tips to help prevent injury:
- Remember your body is deconditioned during the winter months and does not respond well to sudden change in activity tolerance. After staying warm inside during winter months, our back, legs and even shoulders are not use to bending, pulling, squatting, lifting, and twisting; all motions that we need when gardening.
- Don’t do too much at once in the garden, which is easy to do on those nice days. Plan out your activities and take breaks.
- Before gardening, move! Just like sports, moderate activities like gardening, can put strain on your joints and muscles. Don’t go from couch to crops. Perform an easy warm-up like trunk, leg, and arm range of motions exercises.
- Choose warmer days to garden and stay hydrated.
- Vary your positions when gardening. Don’t repeat the same movement. Don’t stay in one position or posture. You can do the some of the same tasks when bending, kneeling, or sitting.
- When gardening remember to always lift with your legs and not your back. Also keep the load close to your body. Good body mechanics are important.
- Try to avoid abrupt movements especially twisting.
- Stay active in the winter and maintain your strength, endurance, and range of motion. Try walking indoors or outdoors, yoga, or a class at your local gym.
- Help your body by using gardening tools. Some great ideas are raised beds, knee pads with handles, and gardening stools.
Please check with a therapist at PRO Physical Therapy if you develop back pain this gardening season or would like more information on how to condition your body for strength, range of motion, flexibility or even balance when gardening. Enjoy those vegetables and fruits, I know I’ll be planting my garden soon!
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Benton KY 42082
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