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Green Fingers - Advice for gardeners

Published on 12 March 2013  | Download | back to previous

This is an image from this news item.As the weather (hopefully) improves and the green fingered among us venture into the garden for some “light” horticultural work, Chiropractic clinics often see a dramatic rise in patients suffering with musculoskeletal complaints like the sudden onset of low back pain. For this reason, Young's Spinal Health is here to advise you on the best and safest approach to minimise the risk of injury while maintaining and enjoying the fruits of your gardening labour!

Ensure clothing is loose fitting and doesn't restrict your movement.

Warm up
As with all exercise, it is hugely important to warm up. Avoid tackling the more strenuous tasks straight away. Loosen yourself up first with the lighter activities on your to do list before building up to the heavier ones involving digging and lifting

If you are kneeling use a soft cushion to protect your knees and don't hold this position for too long. Keep changing your posture - our bodies are designed to move!

Be careful not to overstretch your arms - keep movements close and compact. If you cannot comfortably reach, invest in long handled instruments like shears.

Lifting and twisting
When lifting, keep the load close to the body and bend at the knees, not at the hips. And refrain from twisting the torso without moving your pelvis - turn your whole body

Regular breaks
As with all physical activity, you should take regular breaks every 20 - 30 minutes. Stretch out and relax.

In buying and transporting supplies protect your back by reducing the load placed on it. If possible, buy smaller, more manageable bags of compost/gravel rather than one large, awkward bags and don't be proud - use a trolley and ask for assistance when lifting!
When receiving deliveries, get them left as close to where you need them as possible. And if the movement of heavy supplies after delivery is unavoidable, then consider investing in labour saving devices like gardening trollies. Above all, give yourself time - gardening doesn't have to be rushed!

Remember, gardening involves many activities you haven't performed throughout the colder months and can therefore come as quite an unexpected workout. So, dress sensibly, warm up, think about your activities and plan ahead to enjoy comfortable and safe gardening this summer!

For additional queries, please feel free to contact Dr. Laura Young on: 01656 856162 or via e-mail -

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