Now that Spring is here, you may be looking forward to the nicer weather and start a new gardening project. Gardening is a great way to get in some healthy activity, spend time outdoors and cultivate healthy additions to your diet.
However, for those suffering from chronic back pain, there are a few important things to keep in mind to protect and promote your spinal health while gardening.
Use correct lifting mechanics
No matter what you’re doing, lifting properly is important. Always bend at the knees to avoid putting incorrect pressure on your spine. If you must lift something that is too heavy to lift properly, divide the load into smaller portions, or use a cart to move the load.
Drink plenty of water
As the weather heats up, it will be more and more important to keep your body properly hydrated. Proper hydration will replace the fluids you lose while working outdoors, help to keep you cool, and is important for maintaining good tissue health and circulation.
Use protective gear
If your spinal health is challenged by any musculoskeletal condition, any shocks to the system can cause you to stress your back. Protective gear like gloves, knee pads, and eyewear will help you to do your gardening work comfortably and avoid any unnecessarily strenuous movements while you enjoy your outdoor hobby.
When pulling weeds, or doing other repetitive actions near the ground, consider using a small stool to sit on. This will help you to mitigate the stress of doing an otherwise difficult chore. Using a small stool will also help you to avoid getting stuck in a low position and keep you from over stressing your spine.
If you feel kneeling is better for certain chores, use knee pads to avoid discomfort. You may also consider having a walking stick or other supportive aid to help you get back on your feet without straining your back.
Use smart planning
Certain types of plants will be easier to care for than others. Choosing easy to care for plants will make your gardening experience less stressful, enabling you to garden when you choose to, rather than having to garden more than you would like to.
Perform varying tasks
Tasks that require repetitive movements can cause stress to your joints. Try to do different tasks from one day to the next while avoiding doing the same chore each time you garden.
Consider using a greenhouse
In a greenhouse, you can place plants and tools at easy to reach levels, install level floors, and keep everything set up in a more convenient way. A greenhouse can also provide shelter from the sun on hot days.
Grow plants that promote healing
Certain food plants offer excellent nutrients for healing and strengthening your bones and your overall health. Kale and collard greens are great examples.
It is important to consult your healthcare provider before engaging in any strenuous activity and get in touch to learn more about how therapeutic gardening can be done in a way that is safe and enjoyable.