Gardening offers a way to escape into nature. And many people love this activity for how therapeutic and relaxing it is.
However, those therapeutic vibes can quickly become interrupted by the unwanted sensations of back pain. Surprisingly, gardening might also make existing back pain worse. But it doesn’t have to!
With the right knowledge, you can avoid back pain and continue to garden as you please. Here are our top gardening tips to prevent back pain.
- Warm Up
Gardening isn’t usually thought of as a workout, but it can end up being really good exercise. Like any type of exercise, you want to ensure your body is properly warmed up before diving into it headfirst.
We suggest performing a few stretches beforehand. Try lying down face-up and bringing both your knees to your chest or perform a child’s pose stretch. Do what feels good. It may also benefit you to walk for 5-10 minutes before you start any heavy lifting.
- Use Proper Form When Lifting or Squatting
Back pain can happen fairly quickly when using incorrect techniques and improper form. In fact, bad posture over time is one of the main contributor factors to back pain.
Whenever you are lifting or squatting while gardening, ensure you are keeping your chest up and maintaining a straight back. Always tighten your core and abdominals to prevent strain from being placed on the back. Whenever lifting an object, keep it close to your body. This way, you won’t have to awkwardly bend to hold it. Try to avoid any reaching or hunched movements.
- Strengthen Your Core
It’s not all about what you do when you garden. There are various exercises you can do outside of gardening to help prevent back pain when you garden. These exercises include strengthening your core, particularly your transverse abdominis, or TA muscle.
Your TA muscle acts like a corset around your pelvis and lower back region. It offers support and proper alignment for these structures. By activating it and strengthening it regularly, you can reduce your chances of experiencing back pain, especially when gardening.
- Use Tools
There are various tools that can alleviate any burden you take on when gardening. For instance, using wheelbarrows can help carry heavy objects across the yard. Garden stools can help reduce your chance of back pain by decreasing the amount of time you spend squatting.
You can also purchase cushions for your knees or more custom hand-held tools to make certain gardening activities easier.
- Take Breaks
Overuse and repetitive movements are a sure-fire way to injury and pain. Instead of tackling everything in one afternoon, spread it out over many days or weekends. Take breaks every 20-30 minutes of gardening. Grab a glass of water or stretch in between tasks.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If it’s beginning to ache or feel sore, it’s telling you that you need a break or that you may be done for the day.
Prevent Back Pain Before It Happens
The best way to stop pain in its tracks? Tackle it before it even happens. This means alternating between activities. Avoid standing for too long and avoid squatting for too long. Use the tips above to guide you on safety and technique.
Are you currently experiencing back pain? At Total Health & Sports Performance in Brampton and Mississauga, our team can help you avoid and reduce back pain. That way, you can get back to gardening (and any other activities) in the fastest and safest way possible. Contact us today to book your next appointment.