If you love gardening but hate the ache that can sometimes accompany the bending, raking, mulching and pruning associated with a spring clean-up, here are some simple tips to get you back outdoors and enjoying a pain-free spring season.

  1. Use good posture when lifting. Bend at your knees, tighten your stomach muscles and keep your back straight as you bend.
  2. Use gardening tools like a wheel barrow or gardening cart to assist you with carrying bulkier items.
  3. Use knee pads or a gardening pad to avoid knee pain.
  4. Take breaks. Try tackling a little bit each day instead of doing everything all at once. This will give your body time to rest.
  5. Use raised garden boxes or pots to avoid bending to the ground or twisting your back uncomfortably. Consider using a bucket to sit on if gardening in the ground.
  6. Dress comfortably and avoid wearing sandals or other open-toed shoes that could cause you to trip.
  7. Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping.


David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.