Gardening – How to Keep Your Joints Safe During the Growing Season

If you have a green thumb, then spring and summer are probably your favorite seasons. But does your favorite hobby seem to wreak havoc on your back and neck? We’re about to give you some great gardening tips to help keep your joints safe.

Avoid Prolonged Forward Flexion

That’s just a fancy way of saying don’t bend forward for long periods of time. That’s the main issue with gardening and back pain. When you are constantly bent at the waist, you are putting a lot of extra strain on your lower back. One way to relieve a little of the time you spend bent over is to get an outdoor table where you can work with potted plants. That will allow you to work standing up. Just be sure that you get help moving heavy pots.

Take Microbreaks

Microbreaks are exactly what they sound like – really short breaks. Rather than staying hunched over for a prolonged period of time, stand up and do a few quick stretches. It doesn’t have to be a five- or ten-minute break. Just get up and stretch for 30 seconds here and there. Be sure to let muscles bend in the opposite direction. So for example, if you have been leaning forward for a long time, put your hands on your hips and lean back and to each side a few times.

Set a Timer

When you love a hobby, you can do it for hours and not even notice. But when it comes to something that stresses your joints, you can have too much of a good thing. Try setting a timer to remind you to take breaks and only allow yourself to garden a set amount of time without an extended break.

Warm Up Prior to Gardening

This may seem silly. You’re not running a marathon, right? But if you stretch a little before you start gardening and then take breaks throughout the morning, you may be able to extend how long you can enjoy your hobby before you have to rest for the day.

Use Good Posture

Sitting or squatting rather than bending at the waist can help you to improve your posture when you are working in the garden. It can help you to avoid prolonged flexion, and it makes it easier to get back up for your microbreaks on a regular basis.

Get a Chiropractic Adjustment

Keeping everything properly aligned will help you avoid injury and can help you to heal faster if you do start to suffer some spine or joint pain. Dr. Ward is here to help you enjoy your gardening with convenient office hours. Call (703)672-1661 to schedule an appointment today, or you can request an appointment online.