7 Tips for Gardening With a Bad Back
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Anyone who has been gardening with a bad back knows how difficult gardening can be. It can feel like your entire body is going to break, but gardening is an important part of staying healthy and maintaining the beauty of your home. So what are some tips for gardening with a bad back? Read on below to find out!
Gardening has been a growing hobby for years. Many people find interest in the ability to design an outdoor garden, create an herb garden or decorate their homes with plants. There are different levels of gardening, but no matter how you garden it can be strenuous when done for long periods of time. Many people enjoy gardening, it relaxes them and the fresh air makes them feel calm but constantly bending over for hours isn’t good for anyone’s back. Especially those with bad pain.
How To Garden With A Bad Back
You don’t want to give up gardening but you also don’t want to be laying in bed for weeks uncomfortable and in pain. The good news is that you can still enjoy this activity with a little bit of improvisation and creativity. Keep reading below to find six tactics you can use for relieving back pain while gardening. Don’t give up on your hobby just yet!
1. Know your limits and be realistic about what you can do
Before you start gardening try to recognize what positions are uncomfortable or cause you pain. Keep in mind the weight you will be carrying and how much you can support. You won’t want to be lifting too heavy or carrying too much at one time. In gardening, there will be many heavy objects such as flower pots, watering cans, and large tools. Try to minimize these or find ways to make them easier to handle.
A good practice to have before doing any strenuous activity is to warm up your body and stretch beforehand. Use this strategy before gardening. Warm up your body beforehand and use stretches specific for the back and loosening up those specific muscles. Just like working out, you have to loosen up your muscles, if not you will feel stiff and uncomfortable during and after.
2. Use tools that are lightweight and easy to use
Flower pots and water cans get very heavy so you will want to be cautious when it comes to handling these. Try to bring the hose to where you are instead of a large watering can. This way you can easily water your plants without any heavy lifting.
If you have large flower pots, you can either transfer them to a smaller pot or use a dolly to carry them to your destination. If you choose to carry it yourself remember to bend your knees when you lift the pot to avoid overstraining your back. This is a common mistake when picking an item up, we bend over and use our back to pick up objects instead of our legs like we are supposed to.
3. Keep a bucket nearby for carrying things like soil, plants, and garden supplies
To minimize your trips back and forth to the house, and limit the amount of up and down movement. Grab a bucket and put all of your gardening utensils in it. Carry it around with you and keep it close. To prevent back pain as much as possible, limiting movement and muscle stiffness will be beneficial.
If you have buckets full of tools and multiple heavy items such as soil and plants, put them into a dolly or wagon. Load up all of your gardening supplies to wheel over to your garden.
This method will help keep everything organized and will put less stress on your muscles. Less heavy lifting, less movement.
4. Be creative with raised beds
If you have the space for it, you can move your plants to a higher position or use raised beds. This will make it easier on your back by offering minimal bending. There are different choices to choose from for raised beds such as wooden or aluminum.
Raised beds offer wheelchair access as well, there is usually an opening where you can sit in the middle and manage the entire bed without too much moving around or bending over. Raised beds are about 2 to 3 ft tall.
5. Take breaks when needed
Time seems to pass you by when you are doing something you love. This is true for gardening as well. You will want to try and remember to take frequent breaks, especially in the summertime. Bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated and if you have been sitting down for a while, get up and stretch. It will help to stand up and get your muscles warmed up again.
If you sit for an extended period of time your muscles tighten up and this makes it hard to move around. If you don’t want to stand up, lay down on the ground instead to stretch out your muscles. No matter how you decide to do it, remember to take your breaks often. This will benefit your hydration and your muscles.
6. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Choose clothing that won’t restrict your movement or get too uncomfortable when you’re working outside.
7. After You Garden: Tips
Even after taking all measures possible to avoid back pain, it’s possible you will still feel some sort of discomfort. It usually isn’t too bad but still very uncomfortable so here are some tips to help relieve that pain.
- Apply heat pads and cold compresses to your back daily.
- Take over the counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain relief
- Visit a chiropractor for sustained relief. This isn’t needed but is always helpful
Remember to always consult your doctor before any activity or taking any medicine for pain.
Summing It Up
To wrap it up, taking the necessary steps to ensure you are avoiding strain on your back as much as possible is the best plan of action. If you love gardening you don’t have to give it up just because you have a bad back. There are many resources out there for you to continue your hobby without pain. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Try not to carry anything too heavy and consolidate everything into one easy trip.