There are many ways to keep your garden flourishing and active without having to give up your green thumb due to lower back pain or sciatica. Check out these 10 manageable and imaginative ways to enjoy your garden while minimizing lower back pain.
1. Warm-Up FIRST
Contrary to popular belief, gardening can be quite the workout. To prevent a gardening-related injury, consider going on a quick five-minute walk or do a simple lower backstretch to help reduce back pain. Try these two stretches beforehand:
2. Lift with proper technique
Lifting heavy gardening equipment such as pots and full watering cans make you susceptible to disc, muscles, ligaments and tendon injuries if not done properly. To lift tools properly, begin in a proper squatting position, using both hands to grip the desired object, making sure the thing is close to your body, and slowly straighten your legs as you're standing up. To cut back on heavy lifting, use a lifting aid such as a wagon or dolly to help you carry objects to different locations. When it comes to heavy watering cans, fill large containers halfway or use alternative methods to water your garden using a soaker hose or an automated irrigation system.
Check out this video below on how to properly squat from our specialist.
3. Take frequent breaks
Enjoying your time out in the yard, it is easy to lose track of time. Make sure you are staying hydrated and if you find yourself in the same position for a while, take a break and do some stretches (see videos in point #1). Periodically switch activities and rotate the duties to avoid the same position for long periods which can cause aches and injury.
4. Get support from kneelers and chairs
Going from the ground to standing straight up frequently can be painful or even impossible, depending on the severity of the pain and how flexible you are. Investing in heavily padded kneelers will allow you to go up and down with ease. A well-cushioned kneeler will reduce the stress that kneeling brings to the knees and back; the aid of kneelers can also be used as a low chair.
5. Use gardening scooters to avoid twisting
The act of stretching and twisting can add stress to the joints and discs on the spinal cord. To prevent this from occurring is the use of a wheeled scooter. Gardening scooters can range in size from small to large. A more petite scooter is ideal for a garden with tight spacing; the larger scooter is geared more towards more extensive gardens and has a basket to help transport items.
6. Try out specialized tools
To avoid frequent bending, use a long-handled tool for planting and weeding. Devices with long handles, such as trowels and cultivators, can reduce the repetitive act of bending forward, which will lower the risk of any lower or upper back pain.
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7. Try a Wall Garden instead of Ground garden
If frequent bending is causing you lower back pain, consider vertical gardening. Working more at eye level may bring you more comfort and increase your overall gardening experience. There are several types of wall gardening, one of the ways is to have plants and soil tucked into pockets made out of felt that is mounted at the wall. This technique allows the plants to grow together, which will eventually form a wall. Another style of wall gardening is the use of a metal or wooden structure against a wall, allowing to attach a variety of different-sized planters.
8. Bring the plants to you
Raising garden beds by two to three feet produced significantly less stress on the gardeners body. In addition, the raised beds are often wheelchair accessible. A planter attached to a balcony may be an excellent option to garden flowers and or a small herb garden.
9. Container Gardening
When gardening, focus more on keeping plants in containers to make it easier and less strenuous. The use of larger containers can be used for growing lettuce and a variety of other vegetables. A plant caddy can be used for heavy pots to avoid lifting, pushing, and pulling.
10. More Mulch... Less Weeding
If weeding seems to be an unavoidable task, mulch heavily on areas with most weeds. This will keep the moisture in the ground, so you do not have to spend as much time watering.
Hope that helps and happy gardening!
👉🏽If you are experiencing any back pain due to gardening (or something else) and want answers NOW, I recommend a Free 30-Min Discovery Session (virtual or in-person). Our knee pain specialist will listen to your concerns and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you have. You will receive all the information you need from a physical therapist to make the BEST decision for YOUR health
👉🏽Or, Get our back Specialists FREE Guide with Tips for Quick Back Pain Relief:
If you have further questions regarding this blog post or other tips that can help you Contact Us at Skyline Physical Therapy located in Wyckoff, NJ. or Call (201) 485-6114