Now the weather seems to have improved many of you will want to be out in the garden making it beautiful, and this can present a hazard for your back. Here are my tips:
Preparation – ensure you are fit enough to do what you want to do. Use gentle warm-up exercises before you start, especially if you have not been gardening for a long time.
Wear appropriate clothing and use supports where necessary.
Do not spend more that 30 minutes doing any one thing. Set a timer to make sure you do not exceed this.
Be aware of your own limitations. For example, consider the weight and size of things before lifting them.
Be prepared to change your habits and/or get some help where necessary.
Do not dig if the soil is too dry or too wet and find out whether your soil is better suited to a fork or spade. Try to alternate your “digging” foot if possible.
Kneel rather than bend and use a kneeling pad, or a small stool may also be useful.
Do not over-reach. Take care with strimmers and Flymos so you do not twist when using them.
Clear rubbish into small bags as you work, so you don’t have to lift a large weight at the end.
Use a stable wheelbarrow and don’t overfill.
Look out for suitable adapted tools to make your life easier.
Use a hose rather than a watering can, or only half fill the watering can and make more trips.
Plan your garden for the future, e.g. raised beds, low maintenance shrubs.
Remember pain or discomfort is a warning sign, so do not ignore it. See your osteopath if in doubt!
More tips to come in the future!
Image credit: Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / , via Wikimedia Commons