Or Call 01904 788 411

Call 01904 788 411

Gardening Tips With Low Back Pain

I love gardening, I love being outdoors and spending time in nature. For many gardening is an escape, some love to grow their own vegetables and some see gardening as a great form of exercise however for those with a bad back, it can also be a source of pain and discomfort.

Gardening or simply mowing your lawn does not have to be a chore. With the right techniques and tools, it is still possible to enjoy gardening without aggravating your back.

In this YNH blog post, I’m going to give you some top tips for gardening with a bad back that will help you once again enjoy your garden whilst minimising strain and preventing further injury.

Photo by Karolina Kaboompics: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-in-brown-shorts-watering-the-plants-4750270/

Good Lifting Technique 

We all know what to do but putting it in practice is another. For those of you that have done health and safety or manual handling courses will know all about correct lifting posture. One of the most crucial aspects of gardening to prevent back pain is to live with good technique and posture. Lifting with a flexed spine is not bad, you wouldn’t do a deadlift style squat to pick your socks from the floor but with a heavy plant pot or moving your lawn mower, we need to respect the weight and lift accordingly.

For those that have been to the gym in the past may remember how to do a “deadlift” exercise. This includes using your legs to lift heavy objects rather than bending over from the waist, which can strain your back. Additionally, it is important to avoid twisting your back while lifting or carrying objects. Instead, pivot on your feet to turn your whole body in the direction you need to go.

Remember to take frequent breaks and avoid overexerting yourself. We have all been there and started one job, then another and before you know it you have done 2 hours without a break! Listen to your body and know your limits. If something is too challenging or heavy for you, ask a friend or family member for help. This is key to preventing further strain on your back.

Gardening Tools for Reducing Strain

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@fanofthe5?utm_content=creditCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash">Jared Muller</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/man-in-green-t-shirt-and-black-pants-holding-black-and-brown-shovel-EkhWxU_pgLo?utm_content=creditCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash">Unsplash</a>

Using the right gardening tools can make a big difference and easier on your back. Long-handled tools can help you reach the ground without having to bend over too much. Have a look in your local gardening centre for tools that are lighter with longer handles which can make a difference. Have you tried using a knealer seat for when you are planting or pruning?

Ergonomically designed tools with padded handles can also help reduce strain on your hands and wrists. Another weapon in your gardening arsenal for back pain sufferers is the use of a wheelbarrow. Consider investing in a garden cart or wheelbarrow to transport heavy items around your garden or allotment rather than carrying them by hand. These tools can help distribute the weight more evenly and prevent unnecessary strain on your back.

Organise Your Garden

When planning your garden, consider planting and growing in areas that are easy to reach without having to bend or stretch too far. Keep flowerbeds narrow so you don’t have to stretch and strain over plants. Plant taller plants towards the back of the garden bed and shorter plants towards the front so that you can easily access each plant without straining your back.

Raised garden beds can also be a great option for those with back problems as they reduce the need to bend over. Additionally, using containers or hanging baskets can bring plants closer to eye level, making them easier to tend to without putting strain on your back.

Warm up and stretching

Now I know a lot of you may roll your eyes at the thought of taking time out to warm up and stretch but it does make a huge difference. Exercise and stretches are free, can be done anywhere and only takes a few moments. You can find a whole list of stretches on our exercise page

To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning any of these exercises or any exercise program, please consult a healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation.

Incorporating regular stretching exercises into your gardening routine can help prevent muscle stiffness and reduce the risk of back pain. Before starting any gardening tasks, take a few minutes to warm up and stretch your muscles, especially focusing on the muscles in your back, shoulders, and legs.

Practicing Yoga or Pilates at a specific class or from your home can also help improve flexibility and strengthen your core muscles, which can provide support for your back while gardening. Remember to listen to your body and stop any activity that causes pain or discomfort.

In conclusion

By trying some of these gardening tips, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of gardening while protecting your back from unnecessary strain. Remember to prioritise proper technique, use the right tools, strategically plan your garden layout, consider using the help of your friends and family for heavier jobs, and incorporate regular stretching into your routine. With these strategies in place, you can maintain a beautiful garden without irritating your back further.

If you have tried these and you are still struggling with back pain, book today for a consultation with an Osteopath or other healthcare provider near you.

I hope these help and enjoy your summer! 

Tom Smith Osteopath

Tom Smith M.Ost, DO, ND

Osteopath and Naturopath

Tom Smith is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council and obtained a Masters of Osteopathy degree from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2015. His specialist interests are Sports and Exercise Rehabilitation.

Can't Get Enough Freebies?
Subscribe To York Natural Health

We’ll send you all our latest blog posts packed with great advice and tips for the health of you and your family straight to your inbox!

Follow York Natural Health:

Join our mailing list

Get notified of special offers, events, and news

York Natural Health Ltd. Registered in England and Wales No: 08956441 Registered Office Address: 36 York Road, Acomb, York, YO24 4LZ

36 York Road, Acomb
York, YO24 4LZ