Back Pain While Gardening

How To Avoid Back Pain While Gardening And Doing Yard Work

Is pain preventing you from enjoying the hobbies that you love? Here’s how to avoid back pain while gardening and doing yard work.

Avoid Back Pain While Gardening


It is essential to prepare your body for the rigorous demands of gardening and yard work. A brisk 5-10 minute walk around the house or in the yard can suffice. This will help get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed.

If you have any previous aches/pain or stiffness, it is essential to perform your Physical Therapy Home Exercise Program prior to heading out into the yard.

Gather All The Right Tools. 

As in any job, if you do not have the right tools, the job becomes that much more demanding, not only in time but also physically.

Use a raised platform for your plants: A raised platform can help avoid any bending or twisting when you are maintaining your plants, or doing some weeding. Click here to learn more about garden stools and other products that can help prevent pain.

Consider using a chair to sit on. When you are sitting on the chair, be sure to position yourself so that the weight of your body is supported through your bones, not through sitting in some awkward position and you are having your muscles hold you up.

Keep An Eye On Your Body Mechanics. 

It is essential to keep a good posture while working the yard. The more bending over that is required on the job, the more important using the right body mechanics is key.

Avoid excessive forward bending at the trunk; utilize the strength of your legs to perform a lunge or squat to do your heavy lifting.

Avoiding excessive twisting maneuvers. Work on the plants and ground in front of you. Twisting maneuvers and reaching behind you puts significantly more stress on your back and increases your chance of having back pain.

If you are unable to squat, try kneeling. You may also utilize a foam pad to kneel on to take some stress off your knees.

When mowing the lawn, make sure that your shoulders are relaxed (away from your ears), and your back is flat (should be able to rest a pole from the back of your head to your tailbone). Also propel the mower with your legs, to maintain a forward lean from the ankles to your head.

Stay Hydrated! 

Although staying hydrated might not always come to mind when thinking about gardening and yard work tips, it is extremely important.

The key is to stay hydrated with water rather than sports drinks and iced teas to avoid side effects of dehydration (be careful with high caffeine as it causes your body to dispel water); this will also decrease your soreness for the rest of the day.

Stop Any Activities That Cause Pain. 

Your body is trying to tell you something is wrong. If it goes away quickly, try again, but if the pain comes back or persists, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist to assess the issue.

Cool Down. 

A nice 5-minute walk around the yard to review all your hard work. Then end with some nice easy stretching to reduce your evening stiffness and soreness that will ensue.

Working in the garden and in your yard can be thoroughly enjoyable. Make sure to keep these gardening and yard work tips in mind to prevent back pain from slowing you down.

About The Author

Jaime Curl

I've explored many different fields within physical therapy, including acute care and oncology at Troy Beaumont Hospital, elementary through high school levels in the Troy School District, and outpatient physical therapy. As the office manager and marketer, I am able to combine my love for health and exercise science with my people skills, all with a dash of marketing and personal training. My hobbies include spending time with friends and family, baking, crafting, and watching my favorite movies or tv shows.

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