Gardening, planting, do-it-yourself landscape solutions – all of these terms remind us of the beautiful spring season that is now upon us. While getting outside and having fun in your garden can offer great health and wellness benefits, many people who take on the challenge this time of year do so only to have to deal with neck pain or back pain as a result. However, working in your garden truly does not have to be synonymous with pain flare-ups in your spine. By taking some precautions and following these helpful tips, you should be able to garden safely and comfortably!
Think Before Digging
When digging, it is first important to ensure that you maintain good body alignment. Then, instead of using all of your strength to exert as much force as you possibly can, simply lean your weight into the shovel, using your body weight as leverage. Lastly, when handling a heavy load of dirt in your shovel, be sure not to twist your spine. Instead, turn your body wisely by walking around in a quarter circle or half circle. To prevent injury, taking your time and maintaining good body awareness are both essential.
Weed With Ease
Of all gardening tasks, weeding is probably the most dreaded – yet necessary. Fortunately, with a little planning ahead, you can truly weed with ease! For this task, we suggest that you consider using a sturdy bucket or stool while you weed. By sitting with good body alignment, you will be taking pressure off of your body and your spine. However, if you must lean forward to pull out a weed, it is important to do so with good posture and without rounding your back.
Smart Lifting Techniques
Bags of soil can be surprisingly heavy, and lifting them is a part of nearly every gardening project. When you are faced with heavy lifting, be sure that you bend from the hips and knees as opposed to bending from the waist. Always keep in mind, the hips are generally better able to deal with heavy loads than the spine. After lifting, you now need to carefully sit the sack aside. It is best to do this while keeping your spine straight!
Before emptying your wheelbarrow, it is once again important to think about good posture and body mechanics. When dumping the wheelbarrow, use an underhanded grip to take the weight from underneath while bending from the hips, keeping your spine straight, and being sure to use your powerful lower body to support the movement. Once you’ve mastered this and are ready to dump, lean your body weight in the same direction of the wheelbarrow and simply tilt the contents out.
In summary, good body mechanics during physical activity such as gardening has to be learned before becoming a habit, but the effort is well worth it as these types of habits can go a long way in helping you stay well and in preventing pain flare-ups and even spine injuries!
At Stridewell, we seek to be more than just Spine Specialists. We get to know our patients on a deeper level and teach pain management and prevention through body awareness techniques. After all, you can prevent a lot of injuries simply by thinking prior to putting weight or stress on your spine. Stridewell Tipsread article