Picture of a grey long haired smoke cat resting under a bush in the garden
Osteopathy

7 top tips to prevent back pain when gardening

Spring is finally here and it’s the time of year to start getting the garden sorted. Digging, planting and weeding can all take its toll so here are our 7 top tips to prevent back pain when gardening:

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  1. Avoid bending and reaching

Your back is most vulnerable to injury when you are bending at the waist and reaching or twisting. If you must bend, do so with your knees rather than your back. When starting a task position yourself close enough so that you are not reaching and face the task square on so that you avoid twisting.

  1. Take regular breaks

Take a 5-minute break every hour to stretch, sit down, and drink to replenish the fluids lost from your exertion.

  1. Use long-handled tools

Using long-handled tools prevents over-stretching and allows you to stay in a more upright posture with the back in a neutral position, reducing the risk of injury.

  1. Cushion your knees

When kneeling down to weed or plant seedlings use a foam-padded kneeler or knee pads to prevent knee and backaches. Kneelers are also good as the handlebars provide support when standing up.

  1. Switch tasks often

Regularly alternating tasks/activities helps to avoid repetitive strain injuries by switching your movements and posture often. For example, weed one bed, then stand up and water it before weeding the next bed.

  1. Lift carefully

Incorrect lifting can easily result in lower back pain. When lifting heavy pots or watering cans begin by squatting, keeping your back straight. Hold the object with both hands, keeping it close to your body, and slowly straighten your legs as you lift. Most importantly do not twist! If you need to place the item to the left or right, turn your whole body so that you are square on and then lower.                                                                    To minimise lifting, use a wheelbarrow to transport objects from one area to another.

  1. Make a plan

Before starting devise a list of what needs to be done and set attainable goals for each portion of the day. Don’t try to get everything done in 1 day. Pace yourself and you will be able to work longer and stronger, reducing risk of injury.

Follow these tips to reduce risk of injury, but if anything should go wrong Bethany is here to fix you!

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