You may be surprised at how much of a workout gardening can be if you're just getting into the hobby. Gardening can require you to bend over a lot as you plant, till, weed, etc. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) says that back pain is the single leading cause of disability and a leading cause of missed workdays, so you want to do everything in your power to protect your back as you garden. Here are five tips to get you started.
Warm-Up Beforehand and Rotate Tasks
It may seem silly to warm up before gardening, but be sure to stretch well so that you get the blood flowing and avoid straining your back. Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) can be caused by simple activities, like typing on the keyboard all day, so they can certainly be caused by leaning over plants all day. To avoid an RSI, be sure to stay hydrated, take breaks, and stretch periodically. Avoid doing the same kind of task for a long period of time, since that can lead to an RSI.
Invest in Ergonomic Devices
There are lots of great heavy-duty kneeler pads that can help cushion your knees, but you may want to look for a kneeler that flips over into a low chair. You'll avoid straining both your knees and back with these types of supportive devices. If you are still bending over too much, look into long-handled trowels and other tools with better reach.
Lift Heavy Objects the Right Way
There may be times where you need to lift heavy planters, watering cans, bags of fertilizer, etc. It may be tempting to just bend from the waist and pick these items up, but you shouldn't since that can strain your low back. Be sure to lift objects the right way by squatting and letting your legs take the brunt of the weight as you straighten. Again, you could even use an ergonomic device for these tasks, such as a dolly or wagon, if you need to move lots of heavy items.
Consider Easier Gardening Methods
You can really prevent back pain by changing your gardening methods altogether. Did you know there are no-till gardening soils? A no-till gardening method could help you prevent back pain since you won't have to prepare your soil as much. Do you want to use grow boxes? Consider building grow boxes that sit a little bit higher so that when you are sitting down, you won't have to lean over to reach into the box.
Look at Your Chiropractic Benefits
Ultimately, while there are a lot of good ways to prevent back pain from gardening, you still may experience some soreness as you get used to this hobby. A great way to improve your recovery times and keep your back healthy is by visiting a chiropractor. Some people forget to look at their chiropractic benefits, but insurance plans, like Blue Local insurance, may allow you to visit a chiropractor at least once a month. Some chiropractors may offer massage therapy, so you can work out any muscle knots you may have from gardening. Chiropractic care is a cost-effective way to protect your back and avoid the use of medications or the need for surgery. Reach out to a chiropractor in your area for more information and tips to protect your back during gardening.
Look for chiropractors who accept Blue Local insurance if you have this type of insurance.