Tips to avoid back strain while working in the garden. Now that we’ve been having some nice weather in Crawley, more and more Chiropractic patients are coming in with back strains and they often say “I pulled a muscle in my back doing the gardening!” Gardening is a hobby that is enjoyed by a great many people and studies have shown that working in a garden for just a few minutes a day, has proven to reduce stress significantly.
However, lots of people are forced to give up gardening, as they grow older because they start to have trouble moving, getting up and down, carrying tools etc… Should our twilight years strip of us of one of your favourite hobbies? I say no way! Did you know that Chiropractic can help you keep moving and help you to keep on gardening if that’s one of your passions? Many of our patients are keen gardeners and they report that Chiropractic care has helped them to return to their favourite hobby!
Back-related problems are the number one reason that people give for avoiding garden work, which is perfectly understandable. Many people suffer from back problems as they grow older and gardening can be painful if not done correctly. Using the right tools and a few simple shortcuts can make a huge difference to gardeners, young and old alike. Taking your time and also planning ahead can help restore gardening to the fun activity that it once was.
Planning ahead is the trick to smart gardening. Getting out in the garden only to discover that you’ve left an important tool behind can be very frustrating. If you’re using small hand-held tools, try putting the ones that you’ll need into a bucket so that they’re easier to carry. If working with larger tools, try putting them in a wheel barrow rather than carrying them, which enables you to simply roll your tools out to the garden with you.
Before you even begin gardening, try doing a few simple stretches. Remember that gardening is a form of exercise and that those short minutes spent stretching will help to avoid painful pulled muscles in the days and weeks that follow. Furthermore, when you begin your gardening, remember to treat it as exercise and vary the different tasks that you do, so you aren’t performing the same repetitive motion, over and over. This will help to avoid sore or stiff muscles, the following day.
If you are working from a standing position, try and use tools with long handles, so you don’t have to hunch over. Additionally, you will want to ensure that you maintain good posture while you’re working. Stand with your feet spread slightly, which provides more stability for your body, and keep your back straight. When shovelling, raking or using a hoe, keep your motions slow and smooth; avoid jerking or making any short, choppy movements.
Remember to lift with your legs and not our back, but you should also remember that, when you bend, you should bend from the hips and not the waist. Be careful not to twist as you turn – this can lead to painful back injuries. If you need to do something that would require you to twist, take the extra time to reposition your feet and stabilize yourself, rather than twisting and risking injury.