Spring is finally here! For New Jerseyans, few words could possibly sound sweeter.
The time of the year has finally arrived when we can pack away snow coats and shovels, and we can trade them in for light clothing and the tools for your outdoor activity of choice. For some, this means a rake, hoe and watering can as they eagerly prepare to get their garden going again this year.
While gardening is a great hobby that doubles as exercise, since it is still a physical task, it can also lead to pain. In fact, one medical study reports that more than 2 million Americans are injured while doing gardening or yardwork. All the stretching, bending and twisting that comes with being a productive gardener puts multiple areas of the body at risk for pain, especially the knees and back. A physical therapist can help you learn how to avoid knee and back pain while gardening.
These seven tips can help you avoid back and knee pain from gardening
The knees and back are a prime target for aches and pains while you’re gardening. This is because gardening can involve extensive bending and kneeling, and it often requires that you repeat the same movements over and over. In turn, repeating movements can be particularly stressful on your knees and back.
If you garden and can’t wait to get started this year but don’t want to run into any nagging aches or pains, our physical therapists recommend using the following tips:
- Use a foam or gel kneel pad and try alternately kneeling on each knee.
- Vary your gardening tasks throughout the session so you’re not repeating the same one for too long, or break the session up into smaller tasks.
- Try to only use pruners, shovels, rakes and other gardening tools that are ergonomically designed with cushioned grips, and avoid tool shortcuts.
- When you sit for jobs at ground level, don’t sit cross-legged; flex your body forward and maintain good posture, or use a small chair or stool.
- If possible, raise your beds and container platforms to allow you to tend to them at close-to-standing height, which helps reduce bending over.
- Stretch both before and after gardening, and ice any sore areas before going to bed.
- Strengthening exercises can also help strengthen the knees and back, which can reduce the stress and strain from gardening.
Need help treating knee or back pain from gardening? You’ll find it at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
For all the gardeners out there who want to keep themselves pain-free this spring, our Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation team can help. We can offer further gardening guidance or develop a basic stretching program to keep you flexible. Our physical therapists can also perform a free screening to ensure that your knee and back pain aren’t being caused by an underlying issue.
Don’t want to waste time driving to one of our clinics? You don’t have to! Our team offers physical therapy services you can use at home, including virtual therapy and at-home care sessions. We can even get your therapy started if you don’t have a doctor’s referral.
Contact our team today for more information about our helpful therapy services or to schedule an initial appointment.