Back pain in gardening

How to prevent back pain in gardening

Are you suffering from back pain in gardening? Gardening and tending your garden during the spring can cause various problems: but how can you prevent back pain when gardening?

Problems generated from gardening are a common problem, something that many people especially people over 50 often suffer from. Gardening is a high motion activity, it works a lot of muscles and joints, it involves a wide range of movements (standing, bending, stooping, stretching, lifting…).

But just because we’re older, doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things like gardening that we love.

Warm up before gardening to prevent back pain

To help prevent back pain while gardening and improving your garden, it’s best to warm up first. It sounds surprising-you’re not running a marathon-but it’s important to stretch your muscles before you start digging, pruning….

It’s easy to think of gardening as a sedentary, relaxing activity, but it’s a full body workout!

Warming up will help prevent back pain during gardening.

You use many different muscles and joints so it’s important to recognize that you need to prepare your body. Just as you would if you were going for a walk.

The first thing you should do in the garden is not to dig, but to do some simple stretches and exercises to warm up your back, shoulders, arms and legs.

Stretch your waist and core muscles by reaching your hands above your head. Feet hip distance apart, grasp the right wrist with the left hand and stretch/bend to the left side, then hold for 20 seconds. On each exhale, stretch a little more, and on each inhale release a little. Repeat on the opposite side.

Then stretch your shoulders and upper arms. Stand up and cross your right arm across your chest, grasping it just above the elbow with your left hand. As you do this, you will feel a great stretch and you should hold it for 20 seconds, take a deep breath, before repeating it on the other side.

Be aware of the weights we take in gardening

Whatever you’re carrying, lifting, or moving from place to place, it’s important to know and be aware of how to lift and carry things. A high percentage of back pain is directly related to carrying something heavy! And as you bend over to do the groundwork, think about the position you are adopting.

It’s very important that your starting position should be bent over, with your legs bent at the knees and your back straight.

Be sure to carry the heaviest items low and pressed against your body so that there is less leverage on your back.

While tending the lawn, don’t bend over, as you will force your spine into an unnatural position. Try to avoid this and instead, try kneeling. You can use a gardening mat to kneel on. Have one knee on the ground and the other raised, and switch sides regularly to relieve any pressure.

One of the most important tools in gardening is the wheelbarrow. Use the wheelbarrow wherever you can, so it will carry loads more safely.

On the other hand, if something you’re lifting such as a full watering can or a bag of debris…and it’s heavy, fill it halfway and make several trips rather than risk straining your back.

Use gardening tools

You can prevent back pain by using specialized tools. They are designed to relieve stress on the back and joints.

Wheelbarrows are designed to facilitate and unload garden waste and allow you to transport debris and pots more safely.

With long-handled tools you can, trim and pick up yard waste, and it’s much easier on your back, avoiding the need to stretch or bend over repeatedly.

Take a break!

We all want a break from time to time. Therefore, it’s important to take regular breaks if you want to prevent back pain after gardening. It’s easy to get carried away, time goes by without you even realizing it, when you’re so immersed doing the garden and you even forget to rest.

And once you’re done for the day, take 10 minutes to stretch the muscles in your neck, shoulders, arms, back and legs. Stretching after any strenuous physical activity has been proven to help muscles recover and repair.

If you have more questions, I encourage you to come to our Nordicfysio clinic in Punta Prima or contact us and we will see what the cause is and how we can solve it.

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