Your carrots are ready for harvesting. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you can hear them chirping. Back pain can ruin a day in the garden. As someone with chronic pain, I have learned how to avoid these flare-ups and make gardening easier for my body. Here are some of my top tips for gardening for back pain.

Started Garden Therapy more than a decade back as a means to share my experiences about chronic fatigue, pain, and disability. A sudden headache became an illness lasting nine years, and since then has relapsed.


I often share my struggles on Twitter or Facebook. They know that fatigue and pain are a constant part of my life. I have good and bad days.

When I asked gardening questions, I received many people asking how to deal with chronic pain. When I asked you for gardening questions, I received many responses about chronic pain, ranging from arthritis to Fibromyalgia.

You can make gardening easier by adapting to your needs. Here are some tips to help you enjoy gardening despite back pain.

Fill the gaps in your garden with wildflowers. Weeds are less of a problem so you can spend more time in your garden.

It’s a great workout to garden!

Back pain and gardening go hand in hand. We are not so fortunate.

The gardening ergonomics will require us to bend down low to harvest and pick weeds. The physical work is also very intense, with lots of lifting, snipping, and dirt hauling.

Even if we don’t run or lift weights, engaging in physical activity is still important.

We may only garden on weekends or every two weeks, so our bodies are not used to the physical demands of gardening. Back pain can occur for those who garden infrequently or at the start of the season.

You may be constantly concerned about your back if you suffer from chronic back pain, tight muscles, or regular back problems.

Unfortunately, gardening can cause back pain. There are ways to manage gardening while suffering from back pain.

Even something like pruning can be a serious arm workout.

Before Gardening

Stretching is the best thing to do before gardening. Stretching your body gently and increasing blood flow will prevent back pain.

Start with these simple five stretches for gardeners. These stretches will help you to loosen your body up and prepare for gardening.

This can be anything you want, from regular stretching to yoga or Pilates. You can choose from yoga, Pilates, or regular stretching. Gyrotonics is a great way to strengthen my back muscles.

Foam roller exercises also help relax my back muscles. Regular activities will keep your muscles flexible and healthy so they are not so tight when you begin gardening.

Photo by Kristy Ware. Find more of her stretches here.

During Gardening

You want to prevent and relieve back pain by gardening.

It is essential to bend correctly. The majority of people turn their backs and shoulders. Instead, bend at the waist and just your butt while keeping a straight spine.

Avoid bending or lifting as much weight as you can. Use wheeled carts or wheelbarrows, and keep as much as possible at waist level.

Look for tools with ergonomic, long handles. You can reach the ground more quickly. Here are some suggestions for ergonomic and accessible tools.

To give your back a rest, squat instead of bending.


Raised gardening beds are another way to relieve back pain. If my back hurts, but I still want to garden, I use my highest bed.

In my previous house, I had a tier-based gardening bed in which I grew my vegetables. One of the tiers grew right up to waist level. The garden was one of my favorites because it was not very low, and I could work efficiently on it.

The previous house owners had a garden in the middle with a plank to walk on. I had to reach down and stretch beneath the plank where I stood to reach the park.

I changed my bed structure to a raised bed with tiers. Do not be afraid to make changes for better accessibility. Back pain can be relieved by either lowering yourself or raising the garden.

The unique tiered gardening bed I used to grow vegetables.

Pacing Yourself

You don’t need to spend your weekends gardening. You could finish all your weekend tasks in 18 hours OR garden every day.

You can get a lot of gardening therapy by taking frequent breaks and pacing yourself. This will condition your muscles instead of overworking them. Remember to grab a comfortable patio chair and a tasty cocktail while relaxing!

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