Now that we are in the new year and thoughts turn to spring, we'll soon start to think about getting cracking in the garden, often neglected through the cold months and now looking a little bedraggled. Not far down the line will be the recurrence of our lower back pain, followed by the thoughts that "I've overdone it", and the search for back pain relief or natural back pain treatments.
In order to help avoid the misery of low backache, it's probably wise to take a few simple precautions. Maybe the best back pain treatment is prevention, and some of the following tips may help:
Warm up: Make sure you do some simple stretching exercises to limber up before getting busy or take a short walk simply to loosen up those joints ready for the task ahead.
Pace yourself: Don't try to everything all in one session. The key to avoiding back pain is to take regular breaks from digging or raking, and maybe vary your tasks to reduce the duration of repetitive movement. For example, follow 30 minutes of digging with say some pruning.
Digging: Make sure you dig in front of you, level and parallel with your hips, use your foot to push the shovel into the soil, and lean into it from above so you are pushing down rather than out in front of you. Try to bend from the knees when lifting the soil, rather than your back. Make sure you take plenty of breaks to avoid lumbar pain.
Raking: Try to maintain a straight back and pull your rake towards your body rather than to one side to reduce twisting forces on your back. Again, don't attempt to do this over extended periods, take a break every so often.
Decking treatments: Bending down to apply brush on treatments is guaranteed to cause low back pain. Invest in a proper decking roller with an extended handle (much quicker), or use a kneeling pad and try to brush in front of you working backwards rather than to one side.
Planting: Again use a kneeling pad and avoid bending down if you want avoid back problems. Don't continually do this, stand up, take a break, and do some back stretches. If you are potting then try to do this on a work top or surface at a comfortable height and be aware that wet compost is heavy so try to ensure that you don't have to move full pots or containers very far.
Lifting: Again you may cause back pain if you are moving heavy weights such as a full pot or container over a distance. Be sure to use a wheel barrow, another good investment is a porters trolley (brilliant if you are laying paving stones or moving bags of compost or sand)
Refreshment: Make sure you take on plenty of fluids, especially if it gets warm (not the alcoholic type!).
The golden rule: If you want to avoid gardening back pain.... then don't overdo it!