As the summer weather hits everything starts growing faster and the nicer weather gets us all out into the garden. Gardening is a great way to keep active however too frequently in the clinics I see the negative side of gardening. What I call “The weekend warrior” injury, people overdoing it and not taking regular breaks can cause injury to your spine and body.

Common Gardening Activities and Tips to help you avoid injuring your back this summer.

Avoiding Back Pain When GardeningPlanting

  • If planting pots or containers do them on a table, not on the floor
  • Kneel rather than bending over
  • Kneel on an old piece of foam or cushion to decrease the force on your knees
  • If you have to bend over stand up and extend backwards every 15 minutes

Weeding

  • Kneeling is the best position
  • Plant ground covers to cut down on weeds
  • Use a weeding membrane and mulch to reduce weeds
  • Try sitting on a bucket or milk crate if you can’t kneel

Lifting/Moving Heavy Objects

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects where possible
  • Use a wheelbarrow or trolley instead of carrying things
  • Make more trips with smaller loads rather than trying to carry too much
  • If you have to lift make sure you bend your knees and hold the object close to you
  • Use your core muscles (tighten your tummy) when lifting
  • Get someone else to help you
  • Bend from the knees, not the waist
  • Keep your spine straight

Digging

  • Maintain good alignment
  • Use your body weight rather than using the muscles in your upper body
  • Move your entire body rather than twisting your spine

Emptying a Wheelbarrowing

  • Lifting from underneath using an underhanded grip
  • Keep your back straight and bend from the hips and knees
  • Use the big power muscles of the legs

Mowing

  • Use your body weight to push to the mower
  • Don’t use your back as a lever
  • Keep your back straight

If you have any questions regarding how to reduce injury when gardening or if you have aches and pains after a busy weekend gardening please don’t hesitate to contact me at Collie Chiropractic on 9734 2400 or reece@colliechiropractic.com.au