Gardening Tasks and Your Back

Gardening and back pain don’t have to be synonymous.  Flare ups, strain, injuries or just plain ‘ole aches ‘n’ pains may be due to poor body mechanics. Following the best mechanics for digging and weeding will allow you to dig in and enjoy healthy gardening.  This is all about using your weight as leverage.  A couple of tips on successful leveraging:

1. Digging:

  • Stay in alignment (starting with being mindful of the direction in which you shovel is facing.)

  • As much as possible lean your weight rather than muscle with your arms.

  • Move your whole body when dumping the dirt out of the shovel.  In other words, while it may seem easier to simply twist your body, this is not easier on your spine.  Again it takes mindfulness to walk around in a quarter or half circle and then release the dirt.

  • Do not over lift that is crucial, it may take a little longer but don’t overload the shovel.

2. Weeding:

One of the most popular positions for extended weeding sessions is sitting on a bucket or stool.  If you have knee, hip or back pain, sitting will help you avoid putting pressure onto those areas.

But even sitting to weed can take its toll on your back if you don’t know how to do this efficiently.  The biggest key is to sit right on top of your sitting bones (which is sitting back on your buttocks).  If you have to lean forward to grab a weed, try keeping your back