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Avoid Back Pain by Gardening the Right Way

It has been so beautiful out weather,  so I  want you to enjoy it without back pain. Therefore, I'm  sending some quick tips on how to plant those flowers (or pull those weeds) without straining your back! If you are not an avid gardener, don't worry, these tips are useful for any task that requires reaching down to the ground such as picking something up, doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, etc!

The most important thing to remember is to use your hips to bend, and not your back. What do I mean by this? Well check out the following pictures!
Wrong way to pull weeds!       Great posture! Nice Squat! 

Notice in the first picture how her lower back is curved forward. This puts stress on the back, and the muscles next to the spine have to work hard to hold her in this postion. It can result in back pain, especially when she stands up again.  In the second picture, notice how her lower back is in a nice neutral position. This put no stress on the back.

Now, for those of you who say "I can't get down into that squatting position," it does take practice. Squatting like that is a position that we were meant to use! When we were infants and toddlers it was easy, and the most comfortable position to be in!

Over time, as we lounge on couches and sit in desk chairs for hours on end, we begin to lose our hip flexibility and ability to get down into this position. If I had shown you a picture of our gardener above (my wonderful mother for those of you who haven't met her) trying to squat just 1 year ago, it would have looked completely different. She just about fell over the first time I instructed her to squat instead of bending at her back. After practicing this movement and incorporating it into her daily routine, she is having much less frequent episodes of back pain!

If you love to garden, but absolutely cannot get into the "good" position above, your next best option would be to use some sort of low stool or upside down bucket to sit on. This allows you to keep your back from flexing (curving forward) too much.

If you have any questions about this, or would like further tips on improving your squatting and hip range of motion give me a call  at 630-448-0255 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it