With Spring almost here, many of our patients who love to garden, are asking if we can share some tips on how to prevent or reduce back pain when they are cleaning out their gardens and getting ready to plant.

It is such a good question, we’ve decided to offer these tips in our newsletter.

Without a doubt, good body mechanics is the key to being able to garden without creating back pain. Here are several tips that will help you:

1. Make time to prepare and protect your spine, muscles and joints by learning how to check and correct your posture. Many back issues are due to poor postural habits resulting in a loss of flexibility and decreased physical fitness. Gardening is, in many ways, a contact sport that requires preparation.

2. Warm-up before you start. Tight muscles are like cold rubber bands, they need to be warmed up to become flexible. Stretching your neck, shoulders, arms, back and legs before you get started can reduce the risk of pain or injury later.

3. Be kind to your body. Take breaks every 15 minutes. Use cool down stretches. For most gardeners, having your hands in the freshly turned soil and feeling the breeze of spring after a long winter is truly enjoyable. Relish the time you have in the garden and don’t push yourself.

There are additional actions you can take to protect your back. These include learning safe methods for transporting gardening materials; learning how to bend, lift and carry properly; and more.  If you would like to receive further guidance, contact us.  Among our excellent staff, we have two Physical Therapists who are Advanced Master Gardeners.