Back pain is the single leading cause of disability throughout the world and is one of the most common reasons for missed work. Gardening is one of the primary causes of back pain. Most people don’t associate gardening with exercise, yet thousands seek medical advice every year after experiencing an injury while tending to their gardens due to all the bending over, pulling and heavy lifting it involves.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few simple tips you can follow to avoid an injury – allowing you to spend all quality time in your garden.
Before you bend down to start pulling weeds, perform some simple stretches to prepare your body for the task at hand. Focus on stretches that will work your lower left back and lower right back shoulders, neck, and legs. By stretching, you’ll reduce the risk of injury and increase mobility in your muscles and joints.
If you experience back pain regularly consult your healthcare professional for any advice they may have. Your chiropractor can teach you the correct way to lift objects or suggest specific stretches that are beneficial for your unique situation.
2. Learn to Lift Properly
A significant cause of back pain and injuries is people not knowing how to lift correctly.
The garden is full of items that need to be lifted such as a bag of mulch or a tray of plants. So knowing how to lift is essential to avoid injury. When you are lifting a heavy object, keep your back straight and squat, remembering only to bend your knees. Lift the object with both hands while keeping the object as close to your body as you can straighten your knees.
When putting the object down, pivot your whole body, including hips and legs. If you fail to do this, you can put a lot of pressure on your lumbar discs at the bottom of your back, and you could give yourself an injury.
3. Use the Correct Tools
If you are prone to back problems, long handled, tools are a great solution. These will eliminate much of the arduous bending over that can be a strain on the back. Check your local DIY store for long-hand cultivators and trowels. A wheelbarrow is another excellent option because it enables you to transport heavy loads much more comfortably.
Cushioned kneelers for your knees can also help with the wear and tear you get from kneeling for long periods.
4. Take Breaks
Why garden if you can’t sit back and enjoy it? A well-earned break every 30 minutes can go a long way to preventing injury. Make sure you take this time to drink some water because dehydration is another cause of injury.
5. Make Your Garden Accessible
There are several ways to make your garden more accessible. You can install raised-beds allowing you to plant, prune and water from waist height – these are often wheelchair accessible as well.
Another option is wall gardening (vertical gardening) which enables you to use specially designed structures which house plants and reduce the amount of time you spend bending over.
What to Do If You Injure Yourself
If you get an injury while gardening stop what you are doing immediately, sit down, and have a drink of water. Apply an ice pack on the affected area for 48 hours or until the pain has subsided.
If the pain doesn’t go away, contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists for a complimentary consultation. Drs. Adam and Amanda Apfelblat and their compassionate staff are committed to helping you achieve your optimal health.