How to avoid a back injury when gardening ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ

October 1, 2020

Maria Nolan

How to avoid a back injury when gardening

Gardening is great for your physical health and also for your mental wellbeing but you need to protect your back when gardening.

As with any physical activity, you need to make sure that you protect the joints and muscles from injury. Your back is particularly vulnerable to injury from gardening so here are some helpful tips to prevent injury.

Focus on your posture

If you have bad posture, it means your muscles and joints are constantly working overtime. Simple injuries can occur while doing some of the most routine gardening tasks like picking up leaves, mowing the lawn or clipping the hedge. Being mindful of your posture is key to staying healthy.

Be careful how you lift

Avoid lifting heavy objects if possible but if you do have to lift something, do it correctly. Test the weight before you lift it, bend the knees, keep the back straight, avoid twisting movements and ensure all the weight is in the legs. Do not bend at your waist!

Keep on moving

If you’re in the garden for an extended period of time, be sure to keep active and vary your movements. Staying in the same position for long periods can inflict unnecessary strain on your body.

Repetitive movements such as weeding or digging can cause mechanical problems, so it’s always good to move around and switch tasks every ten minutes or so. And donโ€™t forget to take regular breaks!

What To Do When You Get A Back Muscle Spasm 👩‍⚕️

First 48 to 72 hours (Ice): Immediately stop what you are doing. Get an ice pack or wrap a pack of frozen peas in a towel and apply it to the affected area for 15-20 minutes, sitting or lying in a position that is most comfortable for you. Repeat this process every two hours. Never apply the ice directly to the skin. During this phase, avoid hot packs, heat pads and saunas as these can increase the swelling.

After 72 hours (Ice & Heat): Alternating between ice and heat can be very helpful. The ice initially works to reduce the inflammation and then you introduce the heat to increase the blood flow to the area. This will help relax tight muscles and irritated nerves. Begin with ice for 5 minutes, followed by heat for 5 minutes. Wet a towel and heat it in the microwave and apply it to the affected area. Alternatively use a heating pad. You may also find relief by soaking in a bath of hot water.

Rest is important but continue with light activity such as walking or gentle stretching. This will ensure blood continues to flow around the body and will help prevent the affected area from seizing up.

If you have any questions or if you’re concerned you may have incurred an injury as a result of activity in the garden, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

CALL: 01491 281972 or 01635 597290


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In the meantime – Happy Gardening from all of us at Nolan Osteopathy.