Author Topic: How to garden after a back injury?  (Read 6469 times)

luckystar

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How to garden after a back injury?
« on: July 26, 2007, 09:30:30 »
Hi, a month ago I suffered a herniated disc.   :-\ Very painful and scary but there's no way I'm going to quit gardening!!! Please, does anybody have any tips on how to garden for persons with back problems. Especially since I have a lot of catching up to do with weeding--it was heartbreaking to see what a month's absence did to my plot, when I had been working so hard on it right up to my injury :'(!!!! I had just put an asparagus bed in and now the weeds are up to my waist, I can barely see the asparagus fronds!!!!

Thanks!

cazy

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2007, 10:15:42 »
I do most of my lottie on my bum, sitting down on a cushion that is.  Its' alright once you get down there, takes a while to get up again though, not a pretty sight.  :)

I have narrow beds that I can reach from both sides and paths just wide enough all the way round to shuffle along on.

Will somebody invent a little trolley on wheels that I can pull myself along on, the wood chips play havoc when I come off my cushion.  :o
got a lottie got a life

cambourne7

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2007, 10:31:39 »
Hi Luckystar,

There are a few things you need to realise such as your limitations and that things are going to take longer till you recover fully and learn to cope with doing things differently.

Firstly - contact your allotment assocation so they you dont get a letter saying your plots overgrown the will then be able to offer you some support. Also tell your neighbours who might also offer a helping hand.

Secondly - Get a comfy chair to work from, i got an all terrain stool from a web site but ebay has them as well and when i find the details i will post ( if someone does not get there before me ).

Thirdly - Get a hot water bottle ready before you leave to go to the plot so fill the kettle get cup and tea bag out and get the hot waterbottle out so you do not have the bend down to fish things out if you over do it. And belive me until you learn your new limitations you will end up as stiff as a post on the odd occasion.

The plot itself - Source some weed membrane and mulshes and start working on your raised beds first with clearing and if there perminant crops mulshing. The look at weeding your paths.

(If you dont have raised beds for all your crops consider adding them to a height of one foot which will limit bending, and make sure there not so wide you have to over reach.)

Other than that take it easy and dont stress!

Cambourne7


Jeannine

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2007, 10:32:24 »
I garden sat down too, and I agree the worst is getting up. I have an old walking stick cut down to about  10 inches which I use to get a start,this really helps.

Also if on your hands and knees, I only use one hand as I lean on the other with the little stick so my back is not taking the strain if I have to stretch.

A length of heavy plastic is good along side the bed as I can shuffle on it.

Gradually I am having one lottie  changed to just 1 foot high raised beds which helps.

Good for you not giving up, but please take care and read your body, when you have reached your limit,STOP.

XX Jeannine
When God blesses you with a multitude of seeds double  the blessing by sharing your  seeds with other folks.

Deb P

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 10:51:03 »
I use an old thin yoga mat to kneel on beside my raised beds, and make really sure I don't overreach and leave my back vulnerable. Also agree about the hot water bottle and overall trying to cut down on tasks like weeding by using membrane etc.
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie!

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cazy

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2007, 11:40:09 »
Knees are out for me I'm afraid, it's just bums and tums, some people think I've nodded off on the job.  ;D
got a lottie got a life

grawrc

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2007, 13:07:41 »
Do you know I think I saw little low wooden slat trolleys in Dobbies yesterday! I wondered what they were for. ;D ;D

I do all my close work on my knees but they don't half complain afterwards!

Skippy

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2007, 13:22:20 »
I too hurt my back, mine was a slipped disc, about 7 years ago.  I understand the pain you must have felt, I have never before or since felt anything like it!  I sent for a very useful leaflet (probably can go on-line now!) from the National Back Pain Association, about 4 years ago, which I found extremely useful.  It explains amongst other things about doing activities for short periods of time, and keep changing, to use and rest different muscles.  I tend to weed for 20 mins, walk round and check things, then pick some produce, after that lay down with knees bent for 10 mins, etc.  You will find your own routine.
Just don't do any one thing for too long!
I was also advised to take up Pilates, which I do twice a week.  It strengthens the core abdominal muscles that support the back, and I can honestly say all the above has changed my life!  It works!
I also use a weightlifters support belt when I need to, again it helps to support your back muscles, it works too!
Will shut up now, I do go on about this because I was unable to do more than about 30/40 mins at a time before, then would go home with an aching back.  Now I do other peoples gardens for about 2 hours in the mornings, then I lay off gardening for an hour or two, and do another couple of hours either on my own garden, or the lottie.  As I said, the above has really changed my life! ;D 
Live each day as it comes, but plan your tomorrows.

manicscousers

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 13:37:42 »
ray uses a rubber back support, it keeps his back warm, supports it and he lost 4" off his waist with it  :o  ;D

Oldmanofthewoods

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 13:47:12 »
Hi, a month ago I suffered a herniated disc.   :-\ Very painful and scary but there's no way I'm going to quit gardening!!! Please, does anybody have any tips on how to garden for persons with back problems. Especially since I have a lot of catching up to do with weeding--it was heartbreaking to see what a month's absence did to my plot, when I had been working so hard on it right up to my injury :'(!!!! I had just put an asparagus bed in and now the weeds are up to my waist, I can barely see the asparagus fronds!!!!

Thanks!

Hello, I had my micro-discectomy three years ago.  You know what not to do in the next six months - anything!

Don't carry anything one handed like a suitcase or anything.  Weeding is OK as long as you don't bend and twist.  See a physio to strengthen your middriff.  Never, ever try and lift the weights that you used to.  I am 6' 5" so i dig on my knees, that works fine.  as soon as you feel a twinge, stop and lie down.
Jack's in the Green.

Jenfur

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 18:00:30 »
Hey good topic to start I bet everyone has overdone it and suffered at some point!! As a physio, I can echo most of the info on here- be sensible, do little and often to get your body used to the activity, minimise reaching away from your body and bending down, do a few mobility exercises to warm up before you start and use a hot water bottle afterwards, and think long term as unfortunately back problems are very prone to relapses. This means things like taking regular exercise and I also recommend Pilates as long as you have a decent teacher who gives you attention your first few times as its easy to get wrong!
Hope it is all feeling better soon and your lottie starts to reappear. If its any consolation i left the weeds for a week and they are up to my knees already!

Oldmanofthewoods

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2007, 08:06:01 »
Thanks Jenfer, I forgot about the warm up exercises.  Is this thread any help to anyone?  It is to me - Ta
Jack's in the Green.

Robert_Brenchley

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2007, 08:38:29 »
As far as possible, avoid digging. This only really works once you've got the perennial nasties out, but barrowing mulch is a lot easier on the back than digging.

luckystar

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2007, 09:46:10 »
Thanks everyone! So annoying that I can't sit for longer than 5-10 mins--in front of the computer to enjoy this, my favorite website. Well, I'm just going to have to find something to prop the computer on to get it to standing height.  ::) :) I'm 35 and with 3 kids I can't afford to let back ache run my life!!!! Especially not give up gardening which I love so much, it's what I do with my time for myself!

Oldmanofthewoods

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2007, 10:50:29 »
Lucky by name...............

I had to work for 3 months flat on my back with a laptop on my chest.  It dun 'alf get 'ot!
Jack's in the Green.

cazy

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2007, 11:25:05 »
 ;D
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DavidW

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2007, 18:24:13 »
Hi,
     I had the same problem last year, and was unable to do anything on the allotment for 6 months, having read some articles on this forum, i was put in contact with  www.get-digging.co.uk  , i purchased 1 folk azada, 1 flat azada and 1 long handle shovel. These have assisted me greatly with the turning over of the soil. Some of the other replies have included growing through membrane, doing a little at a time and take your time, all good suggestions, good luck

David

oggiesnr

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2007, 08:25:30 »
There are I think two approaches to this (I speak as a fellow back sufferer who's work involves heavy lifting).  The advice on aids and posture etc already given is great and we all find what works for us.

The other side is managing the back.  For me this involves twenty minutes yoga based exercise every morning.  Been at it for nearly a year and the difference is amazing.  I also do stretches in odd minutes through the day to help keep moving.  It may not work for everyone but it does for me.  I've also found that it's helped my overall posture and flexibility so I'm stressing my back less.

All the best

Steve

cazy

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2007, 11:52:31 »
I don't think anyone has mentioned swimming yet.  I suffer from osteoarthritis and it's about the only thing I can do, but with serious mobility problems it's difficult for me to get to the local pool.

So I invested in a hot tub, who needs a holiday or a new car?

The benefits are amazing.  It relaxes all the muscle spasms, takes the weight off all your joints and you can exercise in it without the fear of putting any weight on your joints.  It is essential to keep muscle tone to support your spine.  I've lost several inches in the last couple of years, but at least my back is still straight.

You can have new hips, knees, shoulders and just about anything else, but you can't have a new spine.
got a lottie got a life

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Re: How to garden after a back injury?
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2007, 11:52:31 »

 

anything