Tips For Pain Free Gardening: Preventing Back Pain After Gardening

Know the easy tips and tricks for pain-free gardening to prevent lower back pain, knee pain or hip pain or pain in neck and shoulders after gardening. You could have severe lower back pain after pulling weeds or after digging in your garden or lifting something heavy during gardening.  I will give tips on how not to get back pain from gardening or pain in other parts of your body like knee, shoulders, arm, forearm, buttock, hip, etc. You will learn how to reduce the chance of pain and injury when gardening. Why do we have body ache after gardening?

Gardening is not only a good and interesting hobby, it is also a great form of exercise. You are rewarded with fresh organic vegetables and fruits, but sadly it may be a common cause of body pain after gardening, specially back and knee pain, if you are not careful in the garden.

Pain-Free Gardening Tips

Why do you have body pain after gardening?

You can have body pain after gardening in different parts of the body like back pain, knee pain pain in arms, etc. due to prolonged poor postures like bending, kneeling,  stooping, lifting heavy pots and soil bags, and working above the shoulders overreaching, which put stress on your joints, causing inflammation and pain.

Here are my tips for pain-free gardening based on my decades of experience in garden. These simple tips will take some of the discomfort out of your gardening hobby and you would be able to do gardening even with bad back or bad knee and you will not have pain after gardening.

You can have pain in your knees after gardening if you spend a lot of time kneeling due to inflammation of the small fluid-filled area below your knee cap.

Pain-Free Gardening Tip 1: Raised Bed Garden

  1. If you have trouble in knees and back while bending toward the ground, create a raised bed at your waist height. This want you can garden standing up. Metal raised beds for this height are available in garden shops.
  2. I keep a table in my garden to use it as a station for plant propagation, re-potting plants and making gardening videos to protect my back.

Painless Gardening Tip 2: Use Knee Pad or Small Stool

Pain free gardening, Working in Garden on a Stool
Use a small Stool in Garden for Weeding
to prevent pain in lower back

I use a small low-height stool to work on ground to avoid pain in my knees and lower back and to prevent sore muscles from weeding. If you don't want to use a stool, you can kneel on a pad on the ground to avoid bending on your waist. You can use a garden kneeler or knee cushions to reduce impact on your knees joints.

Gardening Tip 3 to Prevent Pain After Gardening: Focus on Posture

Focus on your posture, keep your shoulders back and your spine straight to prevent pain.

Avoid prolonged gardening above shoulder level like trimming a high hedge or pruning a high tree to reduce the strain on the shoulder and neck. Use a step or ladder to raise your height so you are cutting at chest height. Use the ladder with care, ask somebody to hold the it so you do not fall.

Pain-free gardening Using ladder in Garden
Avoiding Risks in Garden: Harvesting Bananas
Using Ladder. Ask somebody to hold the Ladder

Pain-Free Gardening Tip 4: Moving Heavy Things

  1. If you need to move a pot or a bag full of potting mix, put it on a trolley or a platform on wheels.
  2. Rolling the pot or shifting it with your foot is better for your back.
  3. You could use pot stands with wheels for heavier pots and plants to allow for easier movement around your home.

Gardening without injury, Pain-free Gardening, Moving Heavy Pot
Pain-free Gardening, Moving Heavy Pot on Wheels

Gardening Without Injury Tip 6: Lifting Heavy Items

  1. When lifting and carrying potting mix bags or heavy pots, follow this procedure. Stand keeping your feet shoulder apart. Bend at the knees and hips and keep the back straight, and lift the load firmly and keep it close to your body. Do not bend your back, keep it as straight as possible throughout the lift. Avoid twisting while your back is bent, especially when carrying a heavy load. Walk slowly and avoid twisting when lowering the object.
  2. You could use a wheelbarrow to transport heavy objects.

Gardening Tip 5: Watering in Garden

  1. Use a garden hose for watering your plants, a much better for your back than buckets and watering cans.
  2. If you use buckets for watering or fertilising, try using two half filled buckets and carry one in each hand to balance.

Avoiding Pain After Gardening Tip 7: Use Ergonomic tools

Use sharp tools, so less force is required to complete the task. Choose tools that are the right size for you.

Gardening Tip 8: Cleaning in Garden

When sweeping leaves, use a smaller broom and push the broom in front of you rather than on your side to prevent pain in your side of lower back. I have bought a small light weight battery operated blower for the purpose.

Safe Gardening Tip 9: Listen to Your Body

  1. You should stop immediately if it hurts or you feel pain. You need to change position if this occurs. This way you can prevent a major damage to your body.
  2. If the pain continues, take rest for the day. If pain persists, consult your physiotherapist.
  3. Take breaks from the same gardening activity every 15-20 minutes and stretch. Alternatively, you could pull weeds or prepare beds for 15 minutes, then water for 15 minutes, and then again go back to weeding or some other activity.

Stretching Exercises in Garden

Warming Up: It is important to warm up before you start your gardening session to prepare the muscles for load and improve flexibility.  Do some basic stretches and warm up first before going out to the garden. 

Watch the following video for exercises for your back, specially lower back.

Cooling Down: End your gardening session with stretching and gentle backward bending of your low back. After you have been bending forward, stretch backwards; and stretch out your legs after kneeling.

Video on Lower Back Exercises for Pain Relief For Gardeners

Back pain treatment exercises Video

Video on Knee Pain Exercises for Pain Relief

Lower Back Pain exercises after gardening Video
Knee pain treatment exercises Video