Gardening is one of the most enjoyable hobbies for people. Growing vegetables or flowers from seeds is a rewarding activity plus spending time outside in beautiful weather is excellent for one’s physical and mental health. However, enjoying the pleasures of gardening can make you forget a few necessary measures to avoid back pain and spinal problems. This wonderful hobby may be the reason why you always complain about low back pain, posture problems, and even sciatica pain. But there’s something you can do about it, and you won’t have to stop caring for your garden while maintaining your postural hygiene and spinal health.
First off, you need to understand what activities while gardening may be detrimental to your back. Lifting weighty objects, bending, using a variety of tools all while in an awkward position can contribute to back pain.
Bending from the waist and curving the back reverses the natural curvature of your spine and puts a lot of pressure on your lumbar discs. This pressure is compounded if you’re using strength at the same time such as pulling a weed directly from the ground. Making this motion once or twice is fine, but repeating this motion for a lengthy amount of time causes a lot of strain to your back muscles and vertebrae.
There’s a simple solution to this postural problem. Sitting on the ground can help, but in that position, your hips can’t move, and your spine performs all the motion. Instead, try a quadruped position. Support yourself on your knees and one hand while leaving the other for gardening. This position will keep the range of motion in your hip, give you more stability, and it will be easier on your spine.
Warm up your muscles before you start gardening. Warmed muscles are less likely to strain or pull. For example, you can start by lying on your back, pulling both knees to your chest and lower them both to one side and the other while keeping your ankles together. Performing this low-impact exercise before gardening will increase the mobility of your lower back while preparing your muscles for action.
Finally, always remember to lift heavy objects correctly. Do not bend your back but squat instead, keeping your back straight. This technique means your spine will be aligned and your legs are used to lower your body to grab the object. If you follow these tips and take short breaks every 30 minutes, you will slowly improve your back pain after a few days or weeks. So, don’t stop gardening if that’s what you enjoy. Adopt these simple measures and keep your garden and spinal health in good shape.
For more information on ways to avoid back pain contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.