Tips On Gardening With Back Pain

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“When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.” 

Minnie Aumonier

Many find gardening very relaxing, calming, and stress relieving. I am one of those people who loves gardening so much which I can say helps with my anxiety. It is my life saver. However, while gardening brings calmness, and peace to people like me, long periods of doing this might make one’s existing back pain worse. But this  does not mean that you should cross out gardening from your hobbies because there are ways to continue gardening even with your back pain. Follow the following steps, and your back will surely thank you!

Warm-up Before Starting

Like all other work-outs that you do, it is best to warm up first before starting to work on your garden. Gardening is a real work-out, too, so doing some stretches, and walking is important to prevent muscle pain afterwards. One recommended stretch to do is the back-flexion exercise in which you lie on your back, while pulling both knees towards your chest while bringing your head forward. If you have some serious conditions that might be a factor to consider for your back pain, ask your therapists and or your healthcare providers about the stretches you can do that can help you.

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Lift with Support

Lifting heavy stuff from your garden such as trash cans, pots, and watering and cleaning tools without proper back support can injure your muscles, ligaments, and discs which worsen and or give you back problems so make sure to properly lift things in your garden. To lift in a proper, supportive manner, it is best to begin by squatting on your knees rather than bending on your waist. It is advised to hold the object with both hands and slowly raise up while straightening your knees and legs as you stand up. Also, keep in mind to bring the object as close to your chest for a balanced weight distribution of the object. Relatedly, if you can’t lift objects, use a wagon or other lifting tools to help you carry things from one place to another easily. If you’re trying to water the plants, use a watering hose or if this is not available for you, try to only fill in your watering cans halfway through so it would not be too heavy for your back.

Photo from: Biolink 4 Plants
Take breaks

Whenever you love something that you do, it is easy to lose track of time and forget about yourselves. When you are out working on your garden, it is important to remind yourselves to take breaks by drinking water, and stretching for a little bit before doing another set of gardening chores again. Usually, when we are gardening, we tend to stay in one position for too long which causes harm to our spine. Moving and changing positions frequently is best to do. Also, try to not spend too much time on only one chore and try to switch to another gardening activity periodically.

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Get Support from Kneelers and Chairs

Getting down to the ground and standing up periodically can be hard and painful, depending on  the flexibility and pain and discomfort tolerance of a person. For some people, it is already hard for them to continue it even for just a couple of times and minutes doing it. For this problem, kneelers and chairs can be a good support when getting up and down. Some heavy duty kneelers provide raised, padded handles that will help you get up and down with the help and support of your arms. It also usually has a cushion base to reduce the stress and impact on one’s knees and arms, providing you a smooth experience when gardening. Many of these could also transform into a low chair.

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Use Knee Pads

If you are more comfortable keeping kneeling on the ground while doing your gardening activities, a knee pad might be a good option for you to keep you protected, supported, and comfortable. Since kneeling on the ground might be rough for your knees, you can add additional and multiple cushions on your knee pads. Also, when purchasing one, make sure to buy strong and quality knee pads which would fit perfectly on your knees and have sturdy straps.

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Use Garden Scooters to Avoid Twisting

While working in the garden, it can never be avoided to twist, turn, and stretch especially when plenty of things have to be done. While this can be enjoyable since working in the garden is fun, twisting and stretching can not be good to the spine since this can give stress to its joints and discs. One way to minimize this is by using garden scooters. Scooters come with a range of sizes which you can choose from depending on how big or small your garden is.

Use Long Handled Tools

Using tools that are specialized for you to be able to do gardening while standing is best for people with back pain. These tools would eliminate much of the bending needed for gardening which can prevent you from getting your back pain worse.

Raise Bed Gardening

For people suffering from back pain, a raised bed (two-three feet tall) might be a good option since this would get rid of most of the bending and kneeling down since the plants are so much closer to you standing. Relatedly, raised beds are wheelchair accessible so it is good for everyone wanting to build their own gardens. 

Consider Having Someone Else Handle the Weeding

Weeding requires lots of work and bending which can stress your back. Doing this repetitively, for long periods could stiffen your muscles which results in back pain. If you can’t avoid weeding completely, even if you have already considered letting others do it for you, mulch generously to avoid weeds.    

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If you enjoy gardening as a part of your daily routine to be more productive, try to consider the 9 listed steps above to help sustain your hobby and relax your mind with a much lesser risk of back pain. Enjoy! 

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