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Green Thumbs and Spinal Health: 10 Tips to Adjust Your Garden Game

Green Thumbs and Spinal Health: 10 Tips to Adjust Your Garden Game

Gardening is a favorite pastime of many. It allows you to connect with nature, exercise your body, relax your mind, beautify your surroundings, and even feed your family. However, while gardening may bring many rewards, like a bountiful table and a sense of calmness to your mind, long periods of toiling in the garden can take a toll on your back or exacerbate existing back pain.

That doesn’t mean you need to cross growing a garden off your list. If back pain is getting in the way of your green thumb, this article will help you adjust your garden game and help you cultivate the seeds of spinal health. 

How Gardening Affects the Spine

While gardening is a low-impact activity that positively affects the mind and body, it can have a negative effect on the spine. 

A day of tending to your beds often includes repetitive bending, twisting, heavy lifting, and sitting or squatting in awkward positions for extended periods. All of which can lead to fatigue and muscle strain as well as put added stress on your lower back and spine.

Adjust Your Garden Game

Below are our top 10 tips for growing spinal health to ensure your passion for gardening blossoms in the fields of wellness.

Stretch it Out

Gardening can be a real workout, and just like any good work or routine, it should include warming up before starting and stretching out at the end. Before starting gardening tasks, a short walk and some simple stretches can help prepare your body for the task at hand and minimize injuries. Once you’ve finished gardening, take the time to stretch your back, legs, and arms to reduce muscle tension.

Posture Points

Whether planting, pruning, mulching, or weeding, maintaining good posture is essential in the garden. Keep your head aligned with your shoulders, avoid hunching or slouching, and remember to bend at the knees, not the waist, to lower yourself closer to the ground.

The Right Tool for Every Job

If back pain is a concern in the garden, perhaps it’s time to seek out adaptive tools. Specialized tools designed with longer handles can significantly reduce the amount of bending or squatting needed to get the job done with less strain on your back.

Lift With Care

Remember to lift heavy pots, bags of soil, and heavy watering cans with your legs, not your back. Improper lifting techniques can be hard on the spine and cause injury to your back's discs, muscles, and ligaments.

To minimize lifting, consider using a wheelbarrow, wagon, or dolly to carry heavy items from place to place. Don’t overfill large watering cans. Instead, fill them only halfway to reduce weight, or consider alternative watering options, such as soaker hoses or automated watering systems.

Give Yourself a Break 

When you love spending time in the garden, it can be easy to lose track of time, but taking regular breaks while gardening is essential. The best practice is to take breaks every 15–20 minutes to give your back and spine a rest. If you’ve been in one position for a while, stretch during these breaks. Remember to listen to your body, and don’t overexert yourself.

Switch Things Up

To avoid repetition fatigue, alternate tasks such as pruning or weeding throughout the day.

Rotating between different tasks helps avoid repetitive strain on specific muscles. 

When working with tools, alternate hands and regularly shift the weight on your feet.

Gear Up

If you prefer to garden in a kneeling position, gear up with quality knee pads to provide cushioning and support while reducing pressure on your back and spine. If knee pads aren’t for you, memory foam pads are another option to consider.

Stay Hydrated

Remember to stay hydrated while gardening, as with any type of workout or outdoor activity. Proper hydration can help nourish your muscles, joints, and spinal discs, while dehydration can make the body more prone to injury.

Take a Stand

If bending, kneeling, and squatting hurt your back, don’t retire your green thumb just yet. Raised beds can be a great solution to bring your garden up to your level. Some of the sturdier raised bed designs include an edge where the gardener can sit while working or even be designed to full standing height. 

Other options include vertical gardening, where soil and plants are tucked into pockets or posts mounted on a structure or attached to a wall. Adaptive garden beds designed to be wheelchair accessible are also possible. 

Bonus Tip - Add Upper Cervical Care to Your Garden Tools

Upper Cervical care is a safe, gentle, and noninvasive form of chiropractic care that focuses on the top two vertebrae of the spine, the Atlas (C1) and the Axis (C2). This specialized care can help ensure that your spinal health is deeply rooted in alignment and well-being, allowing you to spend more time tending the garden and less time tending to back pain. 

The Seeds of Change

If back, neck, or shoulder pain is hindering your green thumb, follow these tips and contact us today for a free consultation by clicking the link below, calling us at 970 - 259 - 6803, or drop by our Durango office. We are as passionate about your health and well-being as you are about your garden and look forward to being a part of your wellness journey. 

Free Consultation

Notice of Disclaimer:

We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.

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