Gardening and Back Pain – What should you do?
Here at Eureka Osteo we love encouraging you to do what makes you happy and gives you joy. For many people, gardening is something that tops the list! Being outside in nature, soaking up some Vitamin D, and seeing the rewards of your efforts, can all be great reasons to get in the garden. However if gardening seems to cause or aggravate your back pain, there are a few things that you should consider:
Have you got a diagnosis? There are plenty of different things that can cause back pain. Some need rest and others need movement, some are acute and others are chronic – having a clear picture of what is causing your pain, and the movements that are helpful for your body is essential. Come and see us to get some guidance around what might be best for you in the garden.
Treat gardening like a sport…No seriously, you should! If you’re planning on spending an hour or more getting physical in the garden, then it makes sense to warm up slowly, and plan your activities. This might mean starting with some easy bits and pieces, breaking up the tricky jobs, avoiding being stuck in one position for too long, and then cooling down and having a stretch at the end. Drink breaks are also essential! This will help to avoid you waking up the next day feeling like you’ve run a marathon
- Use some props Kneelers, chairs, knee pads, long handled tools, garden trolleys and wheelbarrows can all be helpful additions that make things easier once you know which movements you need to be careful of. Avoiding the positions that can aggravate your pain can generally be done with a bit of planning.
- Be smart when lifting If you wouldn’t normally lift a 20kg weight in the gym, then take a moment to think before you lift that 20kg bag of fertiliser. Good lifting technique, breaking things down into lighter weights or delegating a few tasks to someone else can be useful strategies in the garden.
So enjoy getting your hands dirty! At the very least we will all be cutting grass and pulling out weeds over the next couple of months given the spring we have had thus far. Come and see us if you want any advice on how to avoid injuries in the garden and for help with any injury that does occur.
If you are interested in having a food garden and don’t know where to start, or want some local expert advice, have a look at this fantastic website by Ballarat local John Ditchburn http://www.urbanfoodgarden.org/index.htm