Top advice for gardening without hurting your back

Pull your weeds, not your back!

Gardening for many people is just a chore that has to be done and for others it is their main leisure activity. In both cases it is important to prepare your joints and muscles prior to descending on your garden in the spring. What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips for gardening without hurting your back:

Dress appropriately

  • Don’t wear clothes that are tight or constrict your movement.
  • Keep yourself warm and covered in the cold.
  • Don’t over-expose yourself to long periods in the sun.

Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first.
Don’t go straight into heavy garden work, start off with lighter jobs first. This will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

Don’t twist again

  • If you have to use a ladder for any of your gardening tasks, make sure you are always facing it. Rather than lean or reach, move it regularly.
  • When using the ladder, always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.
  • Make sure the ladder is firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else standing there to keep an eye on things.

Gardening image of women pruning and picking tomatoes

Clever pruning

  • Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning; avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.
  • Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.

Take a break

  • Vary your activity; spend no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks.
  • Switch hands frequently when doing repetitive actions.

Mow the meadow

  • If using a hover mower, try to resist the temptation to swing the mower from side to side. Instead, mow forwards and backwards as you would with a conventional cylinder mower.

Gardening image

Be clever with the paving

  • If laying a patio keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees.
  • It is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength.
  • If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed.

Plan ahead

  • If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store and buying heavy items, such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry.
  • If you do buy heavy items, ask an assistant at the store to help you.
  • Shovel the contents of large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car.
  • If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again.
  • A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially so if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well.

When the bulbs are planted…

  • If you ache the next day there are ways to alleviate the discomfort: application of a cold pack, arnica, stretching exercises etc. Please contact us if you need further advice.


Image of Rhus Tox (Poision Ivy) which can help joins and skin



Rhus Tox is poison ivy and can cause violent rashes or itching if touched. The medicinal use of poison ivy was discovered by accident. A French physician in the late eighteenth century discovered that a patient’s chronic rash had been cured as a result of accidental poison ivy exposure. The doctor then went on to use the leaves and stalk of the plant in the treatment of skin disease, paralysis, and rheumatic complaints.

In the homoeopathic dose it is an excellent remedy for muscular aches and pains. Eczema and other skin problems often respond to this remedy when others fail.



  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Sprains and strains
  • Jaw pain
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Neuralgia
  • Sciatica
  • Post-operative recovery
  • Repetitive strain injury


  • Cold sores
  • Nappy rash
  • Chicken pox
  • Eczema