Osteopathy & Gardening

With spring around the corner, and the gardening season about to get underway,
here are some ideas which will hopefully allow you to get lots of free exercise and a beautiful garden with the minimum of discomfort.

Your back is at its most vulnerable when you are bending or lifting, so especially if you have a history of lower back problems, try to use correct lifting techniques, even if it’s only a lightweight object.
Use the easy jobs as a warm-up exercise before you go onto the more demanding jobs.
Vary your activity every 20 minutes or so, take out an alarm clock or set your mobile phone to let you know when it is time to change. This helps to reduce strain or overuse on one group of muscles.
Pace yourself, don’t rush and try and do the whole garden or allotment in one weekend. Little and often is better, and having a good plan for the varying stages is useful.
Take care when moving pots! Try half filling them with polystyrene or similar before planting them up– this saves money on compost, and makes the whole thing so much lighter.
Jobs such as digging, pulling out roots, bushes etc. are responsible for the majority of most injuries. Loosen up the ground first, and don’t dig when it is very dry or very wet, and use leverage to assist you – also an assistant!
Avoid doing repetitive bending tasks.
Drink plenty of fluids whilst gardening, especially on a warm day. Dehydration is dangerous and can cause tiredness and muscle weakness.
Don’t sit down immediately after gardening; go for a stroll to warm down. A warm bath or hot shower can help to relax your muscles.
Do some stretches after gardening, especially for your lower back. This can increase flexibility and energy levels and reduce muscle tension and the likelihood of injury.
Think about what you are doing, take care of your back and enjoy your gardening!