8 Ways to Reduce Back Pain When Gardening

Summer is a beautiful time to spend outdoors, particularly in the garden. When the weather is mild enough, it is good to spend your hours being active around the house and garden. What you need to be careful of is that all this activity can lead to an increase in back problems and back neck pain.

If you are a keen gardener, it is important to take measures to look after your back. Read on to find out the 8 ways to reduce back pain when gardening.

1. Warming Up

Stretching and warming up shouldn’t just be saved for a workout at the gym. A day in the garden is just a valid workout for you as is going for a run, so therefore you need to prepare your muscles and joints for the work ahead to help prevent injury.

2. Get Fit

Having good muscle tone and general fitness is always a good idea. This is especially so if you have back problems. Good flexibility, endurance and muscle tone will help keep your back healthy.

3. Bending

Prolonged or repeated bending overloads the spine. Try to perform activities between waist and chest level, so that you don’t work with a bent spine. An example of this is placing pots on a bench to do the re-potting, rather than having the pots on the ground, or in a low position, making it awkward for you and contributing to back pain.

4. Lifting

Lifting can also overload the spine. Do not attempt to lift heavy objects on your own. Use a lifting device, like a trolley, where possible. If you do lift, try to keep your back straight, your bottom pushed out, and use your legs to do the work. Avoid jerking and lift slowly, in a controlled manner. Learn to pull your belly button in slightly, while you lift, to help stabilise your spine.

5. Sitting

Do not perform any sudden or heavy lifting after you have been sitting for prolonged periods. For example, lifting a bag of mulch out of the boot after a long car trip can put your back at risk. Similarly, prolonged sitting after heavy work can cause problems. Lie down to rest or to watch TV after a session in the garden, rather than sitting down.

6. Carrying

Try to use a wheel barrow or a trolley to carry pots, bags etc from one point to another. Avoid carrying heavy or awkward objects on your own. Carrying an overload your spine and may cause damage and back pain.

7. Using a Back brace

If you have chronic or recurrent back problems or back pain, it may be worth considering wearing a back brace whilst gardening. A back brace will give you support and it will also remind you to maintain good posture.

8. Visit your Physiotherapist for a check up

Lastly, visiting your physiotherapist for a check up will help determine whether you have adequate flexibility and muscle control. Improving this will help keep your spine healthy.

Remember physiotherapists are experts in dealing with back pain. If you do have trouble, see your physiotherapist without delay. Visit us at Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or call today on (03) 9912 2000.

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