When there is wet weather during the summer months, plants and grass thrive and it can seem like you need to do gardening nearly every weekend. This can lead to aches and pains and even injury unless you take precautions.
The reason people get aches and pains, when they undertake what appears to be a relatively sedate activity, is that the actions required are quite different from those carried out in the rest of the year.
The main causes are prolonged stretching and overuse of the ligaments and joints in the spine. Digging, mowing and stooping place considerable stress on the ligaments and joints in the lower lumbar spine and cause them to become inflamed and tender. This in turn triggers a protective muscle spasm which gives rise to the deeper, duller, achy type of pain that occurs over the following few days.
Sadly this happens year after year. It is very important to look after your muscles and joints, especially when undertaking a form of exercise that you are not used to. If you want to stop gardening aches and pains and be able to appreciate all the hard work the next day, then follow these top ten tips:
1 Gently stretch your muscles and ligaments for a few minutes before and after gardening, but don’t bend down to touch your toes – this can cause damage
2 Wear light, but warm clothes & make sure your lower back is always covered
3 Kneel on one leg rather than bending your back repeatedly
4 Use long handled tools to prune tall plants
5 Use only a small spade/fork for digging and keep your back gently hollowed
6 Do not always work to one side only, vary your position
7 Don’t do the same work for long periods, vary your tasks
8 Keep your back straight when carrying
9 When finished have a warm bath or shower
10 Do not sit for too long in your favourite armchair afterwards, but stand up regularly and walk around for a minute or two.