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Key Components to Help You Avoid Gardening Back Pain

The relaxing and fulfilling activity of gardening sometimes becomes a source of lower back pain for many who otherwise enjoy time spent outdoors, beautifying their environment. This is because working with plants and the soil often requires a stooped or kneeling posture accompanied with repetitive motions. Added to this is the occasional lifting of heavy loads like bags of mulch, fertilzer, or potted plants. The good news is that certain chiropractors recommended precautions can be taken to minimize the aches and pains caused by a day of gardening. 

Digging is perhaps the most basic action required by gardening and it is the most common source of muscle pain because it demands a good deal of muscle tension to drive a shovel into the earth and lift loads of it up. However, the act of digging can be performed safely for the back if the body is kept aligned, and you lean into the digging motion with the entirety of the body’s weight. This keeps tension from developing in the back and distributed evenly throughout the entire body. Another helpful approach to digging is to remember to walk and move as the job demands. Some people twist their bodies this way and that to cover as much ground as possible without having to move from one spot, but this leads to aches, pains, and injuries. 

Bringing out a bucket or chair to sit down on while gardening can also keep the back safe from pain. Taking a seat while doing gardening work is especially helpful for those who have knee, hip, and back pain. Sitting down in itself isn’t a guarantee for pain avoidance, however. The way you sit is also important. Chiropractors recommend a seated posture that has the sitter seated on top of their sitting bones so that unnecessary pressure doesn’t develop, keeping the back free of pain.

In general there a just a few basic rules to follow in order to avoid pain while gardening and these include:

  • Using the correct angle while using tools like shovels
  • Using the entire body when performing an action
  • Lifting with the legs when moving heavy objects

Another consideration is to make your garden friendly for your back. This can be done by changing the layout of typical garden features like flower beds. By raising the flower bed up from the lowest level of the ground with wooden planks or cinder blocks, the less you have to stoop to work there.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of ectomorphe

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