The summer months see my physiotherapy clinic inundated with people that have injured their backs whilst gardening. Most gardening injuries occur with the person in a flexed (bent over position), often lifting something in a bad posture! Sometimes just the time spent leaning forward or bending can cause the back to ache. There can often be a problem with core strength with those who suffer back injuries whist gardening.
If you are suffering a gardening related back injury or pain here is what you can do to ease your pain:
1. Apply heat to your back, either with a hot water bottle, shower or bath. Heat will help ease muscle tightness/spasm.
2. Keep moving, don't let your back seize up.
3. Stretch your back into extension with a cobra stretch. If you have spent all day in a flexed position your back will benefit from some extension based stretches such as this:
I would suggest performing 10 repetitions every hour or two. You might find it difficult to push into a full stretch, so start slowly and build up to the full extension. Sometime starting on your elbows helps ease you into an extended position.
If you have sciatica please read my sciatic blog with tips on how to manage that.
Long term you need to consider building some strength in your back with some core strengthening exercises, otherwise you may continue to suffer back pain whilst gardening. We have lots of back strengthening workouts on our video page.