Gentle exercise to treat back pain

The most effective back pain treatment is to encourage movement – inactivity can make the pain worse. Gardening can be one of the best forms of gentle exercise!

But don’t go mad or try to turn your gardening into an explosive aerobic workout! It’s so easy to overdo it. I myself borrowed a jet-wash from my gardener, to clean the patio and car parks. I did a few hours and felt sore. I was going to stop but he said I could borrow it for the rest of the day, so I carried on after a short break and ended up doing 5 hours of bending over cleaning. I did an amazing job but my back was very sore and tight after, and I think I was very lucky not to have strained it worse. It did settle in a few days, but it was so utterly silly to have done so much in one go. Think about this next time it comes to gardening or housework!

Gardening involves prolonged periods hunched over in awkward positions, digging, lifting and bending, and however agile you feel, after our long winter it is easy to strain your back. Back pain from gardening is one of the most common complaints us Chiropractors treat in Spring so here are a few tips to help prevent this happening for you.

Back Pain Gardening

Keep these tips in mind when you’re next in the garden:

Set attainable goals: Be realistic about what you can do.

Pace yourself: Little and often is best – don’t try to do it all at once. Having not done this for several months, don’t suddenly spend a whole day in the garden. Warm up before strenuous bending or exertion to loosen the muscles. You could take a walk for 10-15 minutes.

Keep warm: Wear light, warm clothes and make sure your lower back is covered at all times.

Take breaks regularly and drink lots of water.

Switch jobs: Vary your tasks to reduce stress and boredom.

Beware of bending and reaching: Bend at the knees and never twist and lift.

Ask for help: You’ll get more done and enjoy it more.

Use long-handled tools to prevent overreaching and stooping.

Get it checked: If you already suffer with a back problem, get it checked by a Chiropractor or other health care professional before starting a new year of gardening. Overusing a back that is already a problem can more easily lead to injury.

Why not pop in for an adjustment or assessment before you give your back a garden workout? Prevention is better than cure.

Take it easy and don’t overdo it so you don’t end up hobbling into the clinic in pain!

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