Whether you are a weekend warrior or a dedicated horticulturist, gardening is a hobby worth more than its weight in tomatoes.
Spending time with your hands in the dirt can boost your quality of life. Pottering amongst your plants can:
- calm stress,
- encourage a positive mood,
- reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression,
- and enhance brain function.
But, as with many activities, poor posture and repetitive physical strain can trigger discomfort. In the veggie plot, this is nicknamed gardening pains. By understanding how you can hurt your back, you can implement steps to ease pain, and help yourself and your garden to thrive.
When we overstretch or bend incorrectly, like a twig with too much pressure, we can break. Hours spent bent over, lifting pots and plants with poor technique, and reaching to the rear of plant beds stresses the spinal joints and back muscles. This can lead to fatigue, injury and pain.
Correct lifting methods, ergonomic tools and regular rest breaks can prevent harm.
When you lift, bring your feet close to the item and keep them hip width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other. Squat, maintain an upright spine and look straight ahead. Hold the load near your body. Lift by slowly pushing up with your legs; don’t use your back. Slowly change direction using small steps. Reverse the lifting process to put the load down. Above all – make sure the load is not too heavy or bulky.
Invest in quality ergonomic tools. Did you know there are long handled weed removers, ergonomic light-weight spades, padded kneeling seats, and deluxe gardening scooters? Use them. A trolley will assist in the easy movement of materials, plants and tools. A raised no-till garden will lower effort and the need to bend.
Remember to schedule rest and recovery. Garden for a set period of time and then gently walk and stretch. Gardening is a hobby well worth pursuing, with physical, psychological and potentially nutritional benefits. If back pain does strike, your chiropractor can provide advice and appropriate care.