There are many things that you can do to avoid shoulder pain whilst you’re gardening.
They include adjusting your gardening tools so they’re safer and easier for you to use.
Warm up before you begin gardening, exercises such as cross body shoulder stretches, chest stretches, neck stretches and back bends are helpful.
Prevent fatigue by taking regular breaks and use good posture whilst you’re gardening, avoid looking down, poking your chin out, looking up or remaining in an overhead position.
Gardening offers a variety of health benefits like breathing fresh air and all of that vitamin D from the beautiful sun. It can also benefit you physically by increasing the strength and endurance of your muscles.
It can, however, bring discomfort to the various muscles and joints in your body, especially if you overdo it, all at once! We see it all the time… Especially at Easter!
Some of the most common gardening related injuries are neck pain, shoulder tendinopathy, low back pain and strains, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and prepatellar bursitis.
Here are some points that you may want to consider when you’re heading out into the garden.
- Make adjustments to your gardening tools to make them more comfortable and safer to use.
- Use good posture whilst you’re gardening. Avoid any sustained positioning of the neck (looking down or poking chin or looking up) and shoulder (overhead position).
- Before you begin gardening it’s a good idea to warm up, and maybe do some stretching.
- This could include cross body shoulder stretches, chest stretches in the corner, neck stretches, back bends.
- Take regular breaks, if you feel fatigued, it’s advised to stop the activity that you’re taking part in. Pushing through fatigue can lead to overcompensation from other tissues, this may create pain.
When you do take a break, be sure not to sit sloppily because doing this while your tissues are all warm and fluid from the gardening exercises that you’re doing makes you more prone to damage them.
This particularly applies to your lower back and neck.
Best to sit with good posture while you have that cuppa, or even lay down completely horizontal while you cool down to minimise potential back strains.
More information about this can be found in these very excellent books.
Everyone should consider strengthening exercises for your shoulder, arms and mid back for healthy aging, and so that you can keep up your gardening for as long as possible.
It is so important for us to know how to take care of our plant friends – a skill that is rapidly being lost sadly.
Last, but not least, stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, or herbal tea.
To find out more about shoulder strengthening and stretching exercises, we recommend that you make an appointment with your Physiotherapist to learn functional exercises with the correct techniques. Press the button that’s below to make a booking
This blog was written by Sachin, Physio from the Adelaide CBD Physio practice.