Do you experience back pain after gardening? When you garden, you put your back muscles to work, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Just like any other task that requires muscle exertion, yard work requires the right technique and preparation to minimize the risk of strain and pain. Consider these tips for avoiding low back pain after gardening and how to manage it when it happens.
Seven Ways to Avoid Back Pain While Gardening
When you understand how to put less strain on your back muscles during yard work, you can feel more comfortable afterward. Try the following strategies the next time you garden.
1. Stretch and Exercise Your Lower Back Muscles
Keeping your back muscles strong and flexible helps you prevent strain and injury. You can warm up for yard work with basic stretching exercises that target your back. Staying active also maintains muscle strength and reduces the impact of gardening on your back.
2. Know How to Bend and Lift
Yard work involves plenty of bending and lifting, making it critical to understand the proper technique. Focus on your hips and knees when bending or lifting something heavy. Instead of bending for longer tasks like planting or weeding, try kneeling on a cushion or knee pad.
3. Use the Right Tools
You can find plenty of tools and accessories that make gardening easier and more comfortable. Wheelbarrows, garden carts, elevated beds and more let you get the same work done with less strain on your back. Some yard work tools have special designs dedicated to reducing your risk of back injury.
4. Relax Your Muscles After Gardening
Just as you need to warm up before gardening, you should also have a cool down period. Activities that relax your muscles lower their risk of stiffening up after strenuous work. Try taking a gentle walk or warm bath that helps your muscles recover from gardening.
5. Understand Proper Gardening Techniques
Managing your body mechanics while you garden can reduce your yard work’s impact on your back. Focus on gardening techniques that put less strain on a single part of your body and rely more on your entire body. These approaches include leaning your weight into digging and using your whole body to dump a wheelbarrow.
6. Complete a Little Bit at a Time
Remember to pace yourself as you garden. Give your muscles time to relax now and then and alternate between light and heavy tasks.
7. Ask for Help From Friends and Loved Ones
Gardening with others gives you an opportunity to bond and splits the work among multiple people. You can also reduce the impact on your back by asking a friend or relative to help you lift.
Managing Lower Back Pain After Yard Work
If you experience lower back pain after you garden, you can take care of it by:
- Alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected area
- Wearing back support
- Taking a few days of rest
- Using over-the-counter pain medicine as directed
We recommend seeing a spine specialist if your pain doesn’t improve within a week. The experts at the International Spine Institute can offer the assistance you need.
Contact the International Spine Institute Today
At the International Spine Institute, we diagnose and address pain in the lower back. Our least invasive procedures get to the source of your pain and have short recovery times. We welcome you to schedule a consultation today or contact our staff online for more information.