Many patients report that they had planned to go out in the garden to do a little bit of gentle pruning. Often this has developed into a much longer stretch of hard graft, as they noticed other bits and pieces that needed doing – and before they knew it, several hours have passed by.
Digging and pruning, weeding and planting, mowing and raking are all hard work and can often result in an aching low back or painful neck and shoulders. After a long winter of indoors inactivity it may take your body a few weeks to re-accustom itself to the physical demands of gardening – squatting and twisting and lifting .
Of course, we should all warm up and stretch before gardening, just as for any other exercise, and make sure we don’t overstrain ourselves.
However the following tips may prevent your needing the services of an osteopath!
• Always warm up before you start your gardening with some gentle limbering up and stretching exercises.
• Pay attention to your technique when lifting objects such as heavy planters or bags of compost. Bend your knees, and keep the item close to your body. Keep your back as vertical as possible and use your leg muscles to lift, rather than straining your back.
• Try to vary your activities and frequently change your position, especially if you are kneeling, or squatting, or bending over.
• Investing in some good quality long-handled tools will help minimise the amount of bending over and stooping you need to do.
If back pain is a persistent problem for you, then consider creating a raised-bed garden, and have a look at these further tips from the BBC on “Gardening with a bad back”.
• The British Osteopathic Association has an excellent series of videos demonstrating some simple stretches to improve and maintain your mobility, which can be accessed either through their website, or downloaded on to your smart phone via their app.
If you are feeling stiff and sore after gardening – or for any other reason – then do think about getting in touch with me to make an appointment for assessment and treatment.