Smiling woman in a sundress and sun hat watering her garden.jpg

Cultivating Balance: Tips for Pain-Free Gardening

Gardening has so many health benefits. You get improved mental health from connecting with nature. You also gain physical health from getting moving. There's no arguing that gardening is good for you. Yet, like many outdoor physical activities, aches and pains from gardening are not uncommon. With a little self-care, and occasional chiropractic care, you can cultivate balance and enjoy more pain-free gardening.


Let’s talk about the (healthy) joy of gardening.

The joy of gardening goes way beyond beautiful flowers and delicious home-grown produce. Gardening is therapeutic for both your body and your mind. 


The positive impact of immersing yourself in nature is undeniable—it's a calming escape from life's daily hustle. Nature heals, and gardening gets you out there.


Personally, I've found solace in my garden. 

Gardening allowed me to escape from the teenage angst that once filled my home. 


As a healthcare provider, I often carry the pain and tension of my patients in my body. The act of gardening has a remarkable way of absorbing and alleviating those burdens. My garden leaves me rejuvenated and uplifted more often than not. It's just so soothing, so life-giving. It's one of my favorite ways to unwind and reconnect to myself. 


For me, gardening is one of my main self-care practices. 


Unfortunately, aches and pains can come from gardening.

After a day of digging, planting and reaching, you may sometimes feel some nagging back pain or joint strain. From repetitive motions to awkward bending and twisting, gardening can sometimes put your body through the wringer.


That's why it's crucial to focus on proper gardening body mechanics.

Here are some practical examples of maintaining proper body mechanics while gardening:

  • Lift safely: When lifting heavy bags of soil or pots, bend at your knees and use your leg muscles to lift. Don't strain your back!
  • Don't lift and twist: Hold objects close to your body and don't twist while you lift
  • Use your hips and knees more than your back: Bend at your hips and knees. This will take pressure off your lower back. Use your leg muscles for support
  • Use long-handled tools: Tools with long handles reduce the strain of bending and reaching
  • Use cushions or stools: A cushion or kneeler pad will protect your knees. A gardening stool can help you work at a more comfortable height
  • Alternate tasks: Don't stay in the same position too long. Switch between tasks to prevent over-straining specific muscle groups
  • Push, don't pull: When moving heavy items, push them rather than pull. Engage your leg muscles more than your back
  • Relax your grip: Use a relaxed grip with your tools to reduce hand and wrist strain. Choose tools that fit your hand
  • Use a garden cart: Move heavy items with a cart or wheelbarrow to distribute the weight evenly and prevent overexertion

These simple adjustments can make a big difference in preventing gardening aches and pains. Practice these body mechanics, and you'll enjoy your garden much more, and for much longer.


Pain-free gardening also means considering ergonomics.

Ergonomics means working with your body's natural movements. In gardening, this means selecting:

  • Tools with padded handles that provide a comfortable grip, reducing strain on your wrists and hands
  • An ergonomic kneeling pad or cushion helps protect your knees while weeding or planting
  • The right height of your raised garden beds to minimize bending and make tasks easier on your back
  • Lightweight and well-balanced tools to reduce strain on your arms and shoulders
  • Long-handled tools, like trowels and hoes, to help you reach without straining your back
  • Wheelbarrows with two wheels for better stability and control


Don’t forget about proper posture while gardening. 

No matter what you’re doing, proper posture will go a long way in preventing pain, and often injury, too. Here are a few tips to help you maintain proper gardening posture:

  • When you're planting, keep your back straight and bend at your hips and knees. This distributes the workload and protects your spine 
  • If you're raking or hoeing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core muscles to support your back 
  • When weeding or pruning, kneel instead of bending from your waist 
  • Periodically roll your shoulders back and stretch your neck to alleviate tension 
  • Take short breaks to stand up, stretch and walk around


How does chiropractic help with gardening aches and pains?

Regular adjustments can address any misalignments that may be contributing to your pain. As chiropractors, we also offer guidance on exercises and stretches to help keep your posture in check, even when you're not in the garden.


When should you see a chiropractor for gardening-related pain?

If you experience persistent back pain that doesn't improve with rest, icing or over-the-counter pain relievers, you may need to see us.


If joint pain, numbness or tingling persists after a day of gardening, it's wise to get help. We can assess your condition, provide targeted adjustments, and offer personalized advice to help you avoid prolonged discomfort.


Your body's signals are telling you to get care! Don't hesitate to get that care when you need it most.


Gardening has great physical and mental benefits, so take care of yourself and keep gardening! 

It's crucial to be mindful of proper body mechanics, posture and the tools you choose. When you make these adjustments, you will cultivate balance in your gardening (and your body, too!).

At our Aptos clinic, we're here to help keep gardening pain-free. Our experienced chiropractors provide personalized care tailored to your specific needs. Don't let aches and pains keep you out of your garden. Book your appointment online. 




Contact Information

 9053 Soquel Dr A
Aptos, CA 95003


(831) 661-5577
 (831) 851-3502

Opening Hours

Monday Closed

Tuesday 10:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Wednesday 10:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Thursday 10:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Friday 09:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed

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