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Pain Management Tips for the Gardening Season

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 | by

Get out, dig in and celebrate National Garden Month.  And don’t let stiff joints, lower back pain, or bad knees stop you from gardening.  Hi, I’m Melinda Myers, professional horticulturist and gardening expert.

If you want to keep gardening and enjoy it to the fullest, try some of these simple, resourceful pain-free gardening techniques.

For Knee Pain Management

Protect your knees with pad kneelers or wrap-around kneepads.  These items will reduce the pain and pressure on your joints.  Some garden benches even have handles and can be turned upside down and used as a pad kneeler.   The bench handles also make moving up and down easier for those of you who have trouble bending down low and getting back up.

For Lower Back Pain Management

Prevent unwanted lower back pain by keeping short and long-handled tools handy as you move around the garden.  Convert a discarded wheeled golf bag, shopping cart, or wheeled trash bin into a tool caddy.  Just wheel the caddy around the landscape so that you don’t have to keep bending over, plus it keeps the number of times you walk back and forth down to a minimum.

Or create a permanent fixture as part of your garden to hold small tools for easy and quick access.  Install an old mailbox in your garden and fill it with hand tools and gloves.  Have fun with it by adding a little paint or cover it with a mailbox planter or vine to make it an attractive, yet functional part of your landscape.

For Hand Pain Management

Invest in ergonomic tools.  They often have larger, softer handles that are easier to grip and require less hand strength.   Many have unique handle angles that encourage proper body posture which will reduce joint stress and fatigue.   Don’t forget about rachet-type pruners that are designed to give you more cutting power with less effort.

Protect Your Hands

Wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and bruises.  Gloves also keep your hands warm and provide support as you dig, pluck and prune.  Find a good-looking comfortable pair that you are likely to wear.  Keep them handy so you are sure to wear them every time you go out and garden.

Be Good to Yourself

Protect your eyes and skin from sun damage.  Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.  You’ll avoid sunburns and protect your skin from long-term damage.  Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water as you garden.

What if the Pain Starts?

Be ready with your pain fighting tool kit with pain relieving solutions like ice, heat, and Omron’s Electrotherapy Pain Relief unit.  Personally, I am a big believer in the benefits of TENS, or electrotherapy.   This safe and effective treatment helped me with my severe knee pain and allowed me to continue to do what I love, gardening.  It basically extended the life of my knees for five years until I had the inevitable knee replacement surgery.