August 10, 2021: Ten things you need to do to protect your back when gardening
Mind your back!
As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. That has certainly been the case when national circumstances have forced us to spend more time at home. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, in the sunny periods between the rain, there is a risk that we may injure ourselves.
What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips from our chiropractors at the Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic.
How you can help yourself
1. Dress appropriately
Don’t wear clothes that are tight or constrict your movement
2. Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first
Don’t go straight into heavy garden work, start off with lighter jobs first
This will lessen the chance of muscle strain
3. Don’t twist again
If you have to use a ladder for any of your gardening tasks, make sure you are always facing it. Rather than lean or reach, move it regularly
When using the ladder, always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction
Make sure the ladder is firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else standing there to keep an eye on things
4. Clever pruning
Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning; avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with
Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach
5. Digging deep
When digging, try not to bend or twist during the movement and alternate the foot you use to drive the spade into the ground.
Raking is best achieved with short movements; don’t reach out too far.
Use a mat and kneel when doing close weeding work or planting out
When potting up your plants, it is much better to do this at a table
7. Take a break
Vary your activity; spend no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks
8. Be clever with the paving
If laying a patio keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees
It is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength
If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed
9. Plan ahead
If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store and buying heavy items, such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry
If you do buy heavy items, ask an assistant at the store to help you
Shovel the contents of large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car
If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again
A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially so if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well
10. Allow enough time
Planned time allows you to take your time
Our Chiropractors Rebecca Rees, BSc.(Chiro) and Lucy Steel, MChiro have nearly forty five years of experience between them, are members of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and are registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).