5 Ways to Pain Free Gardening

5 Ways to Pain Free Gardening

Jun 25, 2011
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At this time of year osteopaths see a lot of people with back pain resulting from gardening injuries.
Whilst back pain is a very common ailment in the population there are ways to prevent back pain and neck pain ruining your love of gardening.
LIFT SMALLER LOADS – Often we see people at garden centres loading up their cars with sacks of wood chips, top soil and compost. 
Bear in mind that you will have to lift them several times; into the car, out of the car and to wherever you are working in the garden.  By taking care to lift one at a time (ideally between two people), bending your knees and keeping your back straight your back and neck will endure minimum strain.
USE A WHEEL BARROW – Moving heavy compost and plant pots around the garden can easily strain your back or give you neck pain. 
By using a wheel barrow even for short trips this risk can be reduced.
LITTLE AND OFTEN – As an osteopath, the majority of people I see at this time of year with acute pain are gardeners who have tried to do too much in one day.  Typically they have a job that does not involve lifting and so their back is not accustomed to that type of
activity.  Also they don’t spend much time gardening throughout the year and consequently they need to do a lot in the spring.  By doing a small amount several times a week the risk of back and neck injury is vastly reduced.
SWAP ACTIVITIES REGULARLY – Gardens and flower beds can be quite large and accordingly keeping them tidy can be big jobs. 
Weeding, pruning and mowing can all be enough to cause injury if done too much.  By doing a period of weeding then leaving it to mow a part of the lawn before returning to the weeding gives the back muscles a chance to recover and therefore reduces the chance of back
injury.
KNEEL TO WEED – Osteopaths often see people bending from the hips when working on the ground.  By simply kneeling on a pad the
spine can be supported by leaning on one hand and using the other to pull weeds.
AFTERWARDS – HAVE A HOT BATH OR USE AN ICE PACK – Tired muscles respond very well to heat and helps to prevent them from seizing up.  Alternatively, if you have any pain in the back or in the muscles put an ice pack on the area for ten minutes to reduce any inflammation.  Details of how to use an ice pack can be found on our website www.b2h-clinic.co.uk.
If you do injure yourself and need help don’t hesitate to contact us at Back to Health.  We know about back pain!

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