Gardening has historically been an activity eliciting relaxation and calm in the minds of its practitioners. Especially for those who love spending time outdoors, gardening allows people to be alone with nature, planting flowers, vegetables, and other greenery as they please. Depending on what kind of gardening you are doing, these activities can also provide good workouts during the spring and summer months. With all the bending, digging, and planting, there is a good chance you will work up a sweat every time you head out to your garden.
This becomes a problem, however, when you are a gardener and have chronic back pain. That kind of pain can wear you down and make you not want to garden anymore. Even the simple act of bending down can cause you excruciating pain or discomfort.
Fortunately, you have options if this is the case for you. A physical therapist in NEPA can work with you to correct your pain. You can also practice several exercises on your own to try to alleviate the problem. Here are four tips for gardening when you have back pain.
Do Stretches Beforehand
Just as you would before participating in a sports game or running a marathon, you should stretch out your back before heading out to the garden. You want to do this so your back muscles are limber and loose, which will decrease your chances of hurting your back while you are bending down to plant. One stretch that is good for this is to lie on your back, bring your knees up to your chest, and also move your head forward. Do this several times to stretch out your back muscles.
Of course, if warm-ups like this one don’t work, and your back pain continues beyond a reasonable level, getting exercises for a herniated disc in the lower back at a facility such as Cawley Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation could be for you. Professionals are always standing by to help you when you can’t correct the problem on your own.
Break Up Your Gardening Time
If you know that you are still going to experience pain while gardening, it is advisable not to garden for long periods. Break up your time digging and planting to decrease your chances of hurting yourself. You may want to limit your gardening to just 20 or 30 minutes at a time before taking a rest. Additionally, you can help your situation even more by standing up every five minutes while gardening to stretch your back frontward and backward to ensure the muscles do not become so tight as to cause you pain.
Avoid Lifting with Your Back
You have probably heard this advice your whole life, and for good reason: lifting heavy objects with your back can injure you and should be avoided. Instead, lift objects by bending your knees and holding the objects close to your body. Another option is to lower your body by stretching out one leg and bending your other knee down. This allows you to grasp objects on the ground without actually bending your back. Try this method when you need to move objects such as plant boxes, stones, bags of soil, or any other heavy item that you might find in a garden.
Take Corrective Measures after Pain Occurs
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your back pain will return while you are gardening or sometime afterward. In that case, you should attack the problem early by taking over-the-counter pain medications and applying either cold or hot compresses to the painful area of the back.
Start Receiving Cawley PT’s Physical Therapy Services
If your back pain is chronic and you are fed up with it affecting your ability to enjoy life, consider starting a program of physical therapy in Hanover, PA, with Cawley Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation. We understand that every patient is different and comes to us with various problems. We also like to incorporate the human element into our work, as we want to take the time to get to know you and why you are coming to us. If gardening is your passion in life, and back pain is preventing you from enjoying that, we want to help.
Contact us today to set up an appointment and get on your way to enjoying all your favorite hobbies once again.