Gardening can provide physical and mental health benefits, but can be challenging for those with chronic pain.
Expert advice: Physical therapist Rebecca Stephenson offers tips for gardening without exacerbating pain.
* Recommendations include pacing oneself, breaking the project into smaller tasks, and taking breaks.
* Stephenson suggests using a back brace to remind oneself to use abdominal muscles and offer support.
Adapting gardening practices: Stephenson provides various positions and techniques to reduce strain while gardening.
* Working in a seated position using a stadium chair, kneeling on a foam pad, or working with one knee on the ground can provide support and comfort.
* Alternating arms and hands during activities like raking or digging can also help minimize repetitive strain.
Raised beds and planters: For those who struggle with bending or crouching, raised beds and railing planters can elevate the garden for easier access.
* Raised beds should be about twice as wide as one’s arm length and can provide support for the upper body while engaging abdominal muscles.
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