Vale Health Clinic

Protect your Spine When Gardening!

Winter hibernation is coming to an end and many will be starting to think about Spring gardening jobs. It’s great to get outdoors and blow the cobwebs away but take care of your back with our great advice.

Tips to Protecting Your Spine


Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.

Warm Up

Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into the heavy work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

Take a break

Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and make sure you take regular breaks.

Clever spring pruning

Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.

Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.

Plan ahead

If you are planning a trip to the local garden centre store to buy heavy items such as compost, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry. Better still, have it delivered direct to your home.

Don’t lift with your arms straight out, keep the elbows bent and to your side to minimise the stress on your back.

If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again.

A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well.

Finally the weather got better, so we are all out and working hard in the garden. Here are some tips on how to garden safely without injuring your spine.

  1. Stretch your muscles before starting to garden
  2. Change your position regularly as you work, have small breaks in between and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  3. Avoid lifting heavy objects. However, if you must lift something, remember to bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight.
  4. Use a wheelbarrow or a specialist garden trolley to move objects where possible.


The British Chiropractic association has produced a great video with good advice on how to mind your posture when gardening, press here to view it.


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