Watch Your Back in the Garden

With the cooler autumn weather upon us it’s a great time to get back into gardening but don’t forget to protect your back and avoid injury by maintaining correct posture.

It’s amazing how quickly the hours can slip by when you are bending over seeding, weeding and watering the garden. Not to mention digging, carrying buckets, pushing wheelbarrows and lifting. Done the wrong way, these activities can place strain on our backs, particularly when our bodies are held in unsound positions over a sustained period of time to perform these tasks.

Common Posture Problems related to gardening

Round Shoulders
Round Shoulders is a condition that is often caused by hunching over, for example when weeding a garden. It is distinguished by the hunched over appearance it produces.

Uneven or rotated hips
Twisting to shift dirt from a wheelbarrow to a garden, or to pull out and pile up weeds can lead to issues with uneven or rotated hips. In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Gardening Tips to Maintain Good Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected and, in some instances, reversed.
In the first instance, give your posture a sporting chance. By preparing before you enter the garden and having a few simple rules in mind, you can minimise your chance of experiencing some of these common gardening afflictions.

A few key tips are:
– Do some light stretching before you begin gardening to warm up your muscles and minimise the risk of injury. Even though gardening isn’t an extreme sport, injuries can still easily occur when muscles are too tight.
– Try to maintain a good posture as much as possible with a straight back and remember to pull your shoulders back and hold your head upright as much as possible. It is important to avoid rounding your shoulders or hunching over.
– Be careful not to twist your spine when transferring soil or other material from a wheelbarrow/stockpile to your garden and vice versa. Try to remember to keep your spine aligned in all of your movements and avoid jerky movements.
– Only take on loads that you can easily handle to reduce the risk of strain on your back. If a load it too heavy, either lighten the load or ask someone to help you.
– It is important to take frequent breaks, walk around and stretch, as staying in the same position for too long can contribute to a sore back later that night or the next morning.
– Make sure you also do some light stretching once you have finished gardening to cool down those muscles,
– Drink plenty of water to keep you and your muscles well hydrated!

If you do end up with a gardening injury, Redlands Chiropractic Centre can help.
Contact us on 3823 4999 for an appointment.

Happy Gardening everyone!