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Don't Let A Growing Garden Stunt Your Spinal Health

Keep your plants AND your spines healthy this summer!

Summer is here, which means peak gardening season for many of us. A quick peek outdoors shows friends and neighbours alike often working to spruce up their front lawns, or tending to flowerbeds and newly sprouting vegetables.

Gardening can be a rewarding activity for the entire family. However, earning those “green thumbs” often comes at the expense of our backs, necks and shoulders. For sure, one of the top sources of neck and back pain that we see in our practice during summer months is gardening!

To ensure a healthy back while getting those plants in order, do your prep work first. Be sure to wear supportive shoes, and do some light stretching to get ready for your task ahead. Refer to our website at for the top 5 stretches you should be doing every day, especially on gardening and yard work days!

  • When lifting heavy bags of soil, enlist a helper to split the weight of the load. Stand close to the bag, feet shoulder-width apart, with your feet and body pointing in the same direction. Slowly bend your knees, and lift the load. Be sure to keep your head up and don’t twist your body – use your feet to pivot to the direction you want to go. When you are ready to lower the bag, use your knees once again to slowly bring it back down. Alternate between heavy and light activities, but don’t forget to take breaks to allow your body to rest.
  • If you’re looking to work on flower or vegetable beds, be sure to kneel close to your weeding or planting areas. Investing in a pair of kneepads or a soft mat will help keep things more comfortable. Always remember to keep that back straight and change your position often to prevent stiffness and strain.
  • As for raking the lawn, you can ease the stress on your spine by placing one foot a step in front of the other. Alternate both your hand and feet positions regularly, and never bend from the waist when cleaning up the yard trimmings – use your knees to lower your body down while sweeping them into yard waste bags.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you head out into the garden – your vegetation will look healthy and you’ll feel great.

Remember: Just like plants, spines need help to prevent drooping all summer long

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