June 27, 2022 3 min read

Gardening is a great hobby that just about anyone can pick up. It yields fresh produce, beautiful blooms, and a stronger connection to the earth. Since the onset of the pandemic a few years ago, more people have started gardening because it’s a fulfilling activity that doesn’t require any social interaction. Unfortunately, maintaining a garden isn’t all sunshine and flowers for anyone with back problems.

Can gardening cause back pain? With all the kneeling and bending over the hobby entails, it sure can—but it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of ways to both avoid back pain while gardening and manage back pain after gardening. If you carry yourself properly, exercise the right muscles, and upgrade your tools and accessories, a bad back won’t keep you from gardening to your heart’s content.

Gardening Back Pain Prevention

Try out these strategies to prevent back pain from gardening.

Create the Right Environment

The best way to avoid back pain while gardening is to make your garden area as supportive and convenient as possible. The first step is using raised gardening beds, which you can either buy or make yourself. If you can elevate your garden to the waist level and work while standing straight, your back will thank you for not hunching over all the time. You can also make things easier on yourself by planting new flowers or plants in containers that are already where you plan to keep them, eliminating the need to lift and move heavy pots.

Better Movements and Tools

Thinking more carefully about how you move while gardening can help you maintain good posture. Remember to focus on your hips and knees when bending and lifting to avoid back pain. You can also learn how to dig without hurting your back while gardening—the trick is to lean your weight into digging.

Some tools that can make things easier and put less strain on your body are wheelbarrows and garden carts, which help you transport materials and equipment without as much effort. Be sure to put your whole body into dumping a wheelbarrow to avoid any strain. Using long-handled tools will also keep you from having to bend over too much. Wearing a back brace for yard work will also go a long way toward preventing aches and pains.

Warm Up and Cool Down

There are ways to prepare your body for a gardening session and cool down afterward that should keep back pain at bay. Stretch thoroughly before you get started—just five to ten minutes can prevent any stiffness, soreness, or even injuries that could result from you working in the garden. Place a particular focus on stretching the back, neck, and shoulders.

When you’re done for the day, performing gentle exercises for a few minutes and resting your muscles is essential. Take a slow walk or relax in a warm bath or shower to recover after hours in the garden.

Take Your Time

There is no need for speed when it comes to gardening. Relish in the moments of growing new life in your garden instead of hurrying through a task. Rushing can lead to more strain and hurt you in the long run. If you are taking on a large project, get things done a little at a time. Pacing yourself will give your muscles time to relax and recover.

Managing Back Pain After Gardening

Prevention is important, but what can you do when your back hurts after gardening anyway? To treat immediate pain, alternate between using a hot and a cold compress on the affected area. Get plenty of rest, use over-the-counter pain medicine if necessary, or and consult with a specialist if your back pain becomes severe.

Now that you’ve learned about tips, tricks, and treatments for back pain, go forth and garden! Growing plants, flowers, vegetables, and fruits is beneficial in so many ways. Have good, clean fun getting down in the dirt!