Spine, muscle, and nervous system conditions are the most common cause of long-term pain and physical disability. Approximately 80% of adults will experience spine, muscle and nervous system pain at some point in their lifetime. These types of pain are generally caused by repetitive strain, overuse, and physical activity-related injuries (1). Gardening can easily be the culprit for these types of injuries, and can be one most challenging activities for your spine. It is also among the leading causes for lower back pain. Gardening is an activity that requires you to work in a bent position, which can negatively impacts your lower back mechanics. Repetitive raking, planting and digging can also leave you with shoulder, knee and hip pain. This pain can show up over night, or later on during the week even.
A quality gardening warm up begins with five to ten minutes of light to moderate aerobic activity to gradually increase your heart rate. This will result in an increased body temperature in order to prepare your muscles for stretching. Some examples on how you could achieve this are by:
- Walking around the block
- Walking around the garden and determine your to-do list for the day
- Instead of bringing all your gardening tools all at once, make several trips in and out of the shed to gather what you’ll need for the day
2. Hamstring Stretch: While sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor. Then, sit up straight and try pushing the navel towards the thigh without leaning the trunk of the body forwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times for each leg.
3. Chest Opener: sitting on the edge of a chair with legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart, have your palms face upwards and lift the chest up. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Perform 3-4 times throughout the day.
4. Wrist Stretch: Extend your arm with your palm facing up towards the ceiling. With your free hand, gently press your fingers down towards the floor. Gently pull your fingers back toward your body and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
5. Chin Tucks: While seated, look forward and bring your head backwards, as if you were making a double chin. Make sure not to tilt your head down. Hold this for 8 seconds. Repeat 5 times per set. Perform 3-4 sets throughout the day.
1. Place your feet shoulder width apart
2. Bend your knees and keep your back straight
3. Squat down to the level of the object and test the weight of the load
4. Ask for help if the load is too heavy or awkward
5. Use the strength of your core, leg, arm muscles (not your back) to smoothly and slowly lift the load. Try not to jerk when lifting
6. Keep the load close to your body
7. Never twist your body while turning and carrying the load
8. Pivot to turn in the direction you want to move toward
9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its new location
At Choice Health Centre, our chiropractors and physiotherapists are highly educated and trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal injuries. If you happen to find yourself with a spring injury, you should not hesitate to get it assessed and treated by one of our clinicians when you first notice that nagging pain. If it does not get looked after early, it could have the potential to follow you into the winter months.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more you can contact Dr. Brigitte MacPhail or one of our other clinicians. To book an appointment call 902-404-3668 or book online.
1. Kamloops Physiotherapy (2017). Musculoskeletal pain.
2. Canadian Chiropractic Association (2015). Seven back saving tips for gardeners.
3. Canadian Chiropractic Association (2018). Lift Right.