How to Avoid Back Pain From Gardening and Yard Work
This content was medically reviewed by Baher S. Yanni, MD, on June 21st, 2021.
Working in your yard and garden is enjoyable for many people. The result provides a lush lawn with freshly mowed grass, beautiful flowers and colorful fruit.
It’s not uncommon, though, for your body to feel sore or to have a little back pain after spending the day in your yard. Constant bending, stooping, pushing and pulling repeatedly engage your lower back and core muscles. However, the right techniques and preparation can minimize your risk of strain or lower back pain after gardening.
7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain From Gardening or After Yard Work
No matter the season, yard work is an essential task that most homeowners can’t avoid. So, here are seven tips for preventing back pain caused by yard work.
1. Prepare During the Off-Season
Your core muscles protect your spine. Strengthening these muscles during the off-season can reduce the risk of strain on your back and help your workload feel less intense.
2. Give Yourself a Warm-Up
Take about 10 minutes before jumping into yard work to warm up your body. Be sure to stretch your muscles, especially those in your legs, arms and back. Stretching ahead of time helps prevent muscle tightness and strain, reducing the impact of gardening on your back.
3. Learn the Basics of Bending
You’ll undoubtedly be bending repeatedly throughout your day, which can eventually strain your low back. Instead of bending at the waist, use your legs. These large muscles can more than handle the job, and using them can help prevent back strain.
4. Practice Proper Posture
Try to avoid rounding your low back. This means keeping your spine neutral and not arching it. Your spine is made with natural curvature, so don’t fight it. Use it to get the job done.
5. Use the Right Lifting Techniques
From bags of mulch to potted plants, yard work involves plenty of lifting. Whenever you’re about to lift something heavy, keep your back straight and focus on using your knees and hips. The power for your lift should come from your legs and glutes.
6. Mix It Up
Instead of focusing on one job until it’s done, mix it up and alternate between light and heavy tasks. Do a little raking or mowing, and then move on to some bending work like weeding or gardening. Not doing a particular activity for too long can help preserve your spine from repeated wear.
7. Take Plenty of Breaks and Stay Hydrated
Remember to pace yourself as you complete your yard work. Taking your time makes it less likely for injuries to occur. Occasional breaks give your muscles time to relax and remind you to drink some water. Proper hydration can help prevent muscle cramps and spasms and keeps them functioning optimally. Pushing yourself too hard in the garden can cause you to get sloppy with your posture and lifting techniques, setting you up for back injury.
Find Back Pain Relief at Spine INA
If you’re experiencing intense or chronic back pain after doing some yard work, then it’s time to speak with a spine care expert. At the Spine INA, our specialists can treat your back pain with a personalized care plan unique to your needs. Using the most effective and least invasive methods, we can help get you back to your garden. Contact us today to learn more.