The sun is returning, daffodils are flowering all around Ipswich and Suffolk, it’s time that many of us get out into the garden. But how can you do your spring gardening without back pain, knee pain or other forms of discomfort? Here are five steps that you can take to help.
The five steps to pain-free gardening
- Be prepared. The right tools, including short and long handled tools and a potting table, can make the difference between suffering from back pain or being able to get back into the garden the next day. If you have everything you need close by you’re less likely to use the wrong tool or force yourself into a posture you shouldn’t be in.
- Avoid bending your back. Gardening generally involves a lot of working at ground-level. To avoid discomfort, and back pain in particular, you’ll need get down to the ground without bending your back. Every has heard the instructions before – keep your back straight, bend from the hips and use your knees.
- Change posture regularly. And we really do mean regularly. Any more than a minute in the same posture can cause discomfort. Kneeling for more than a short period can cause knee pain in even healthy, young individuals. Bending over, even with a good straight back and hip-hinge will tire out your back muscles quicker than you might expect, leading to back pain. Make sure you’re changing posture regularly.
- Share and spread the lifting. You will suffer from less back pain and discomfort if you lift less weight at a time. In some cases this might mean splitting weight, for example carrying one bag of potting soil or compost at a time, even if it means taking more trips. And when you do have to move something heavy, get help, even if it means waiting. Your joints and muscles will thank you.
- Rest. Sure, it feels good to finish everything in one go, especially if you feel like you’re on a roll. Taking a short break can make a world of difference in terms of joint pain and discomfort, though. A general rule is a 15 minute break for each hour of work, but 5 minutes rest for every 20 minutes of work is even better. And no more than 4 hours of work per day if you want to avoid stiffness and pain the next day.
Have you done too much?
Follow this advice and gardening can remain a hobby rather than a chore. And remember, if you do over-do it you can contact us at the Ipswich Chiropractic Clinic on 01473 463344 to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors and get you pain-free and moving comfortably again as soon as possible.