Tips To Prevent Back Pain From Gardening

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By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on May 16, 2013
Follow these tips & prevent back pain from gardening.

Follow these tips & prevent back pain from gardening.

Gardening Back Pain Is A Common Condition

Although gardening is not necessarily thought of as an exercise, in reality it is physical work and should be treated as such.  This means that prior to gardening you should warm up your body through a proper dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for the demands of the work.

Gardening is an exercise that involves movements that take place in awkward positions that require full flexibility of your spine and joints.  Many people will suffer pain from gardening as they fail to warm up properly.  When you are planting and grooming your garden it requires positions of twisting and flexing your spine, which is the cause for most low back injuries because of the compression it places on the discs.

Follow These Tips To Prevent Gardening Injuries

  • Warm-up with some lunges and squats.  Try 10-20 of each to increase blood flow and circulation to the joints of your lower body to prevent injury.  Dynamic stretching before reduces injury.
  • When digging, it important to always use your hips and legs to lift the soil.  Generate power from your glutes to lift and twist.  Pivot your feet to decrease compression to your low back.
  • Always bend from the hips and don’t flex your spine, as the stress of the weight at the end of the shovel will create increased forces to your low back, potentially predisposing you to a low back injury.
  • Use kneepads to enable you to kneel, or have one knee on the ground and the other leg at 90 degrees to prevent excessive crouching and rounding of your spine.
  • To prevent excessive reaching and twisting, get as close as possible to the flowers, plants and trees that you are working on. You can also use an ObusForme Back Belt to help prevent injury from twisting and flexing.
  • Take breaks every 5 to 10 minutes and do not garden for longer than 20 to 30 minutes at a time without walking around and stretching.
  • Stay hydrated as gardening is like any other physical activity.
  • If it is early spring, dress properly to keep your body warm to prevent the muscles from becoming cool and tight.
  • Try gardening on higher surfaces such as walls, pots, hanging pots, etc. to prevent excessive bending down.
  • Do static stretching and massaging of your quadriceps, hip flexors and low back.  Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds or until you feel the muscle relax, this will help prevent inflammation and stiffness the following day.