Top Ten Tips to Keeping Your Back Healthy During the Gardening Season

I just love this time of the year, the blossoms are out and the days are getting longer. To me this means one thing – GARDENING!

As I venture out with my spade and fork after a winter of, dear I say it…hibernation and sloth like behaviour, I immerse myself into a frenzy of digging, weeding and seed germination. As an Osteopath this got me thinking, so to my fellow keen and novice gardeners here are my top ten tips to keeping you back healthy during the gardening season.

  1. Approach you garden chores in stages. Make a list of what needs to be done and start with the easier tasks first like pruning small bushes, clearing rubbish and debris, and gentle weeding. This won’t put too much stress on your body and gives your body time to adjust to the heavy back bending stuff ahead.
  2. Keep hydrated! Drink plenty of water especially on hot days; try not to drink too much tea or coffee as this can dehydrate you. Remember your body and discs consist of approximately 70% water!
  3. Take frequent breaks and do some gentle stretches, in between that well deserved cup of herbal tea.
  4. When weeding, kneel on one knee instead of two, this will prevent you from over stretching and leaning too far forward causing excess strain on you ligaments and tendons.
  5. When you are kneeling use a gardening knee pad to cushion and help protect your knees.
  6. When digging & throwing soil to one side, avoid bending and twisting at the same time.
  7. Engage you stomach muscles when lifting and digging as this will help protect your spine.
  8. Always position you plant pots and container in their final place before you fill them up. Thus putting unnecessary strain on your back.
  9. If you have to lift heavy pots or compost bags, get some help. If not invest in a good wheelbarrow – be sure not to over fill it!
  10. After your days garden don’t be tempted to slump onto your comfy sofa and put your feet up. Do some gentle stretches such as knee hugs or lay down on the floor with a bolster under the knees and arms out to the side and relax

One extra bonus tip why not indulge in a nice hot bath with a handful of Epsom salts and a few drops of your favourite essential oil to help soothe those aching muscles.


If you think you might benefit from an osteopathic treatment, and you live in the Bedford area, why not book a free 15 minute telephone consultation to see if osteopathy can help you. To book an appointment please contact me on 07490 686 183 or email me on

Leave a Comment