In the past few weeks I have had a number of clients requiring treatment as a result of gardening. With the improvement in weather, we are all eagerly hitting the garden with shovels and hedge trimmers, and being to gung-ho.

I have seen a number of injuries ranging from low back strains to hip and shoulder injuries. Like all manual exercise you need to build into it and warm up to it.

I have included a few simple tips to help prevent injuries while tackling those weeds:

– Do some gentle stretching before you start gardening to warm up muscles and joints.

– Kneel down when planting and weeding, placing knees on a cushion or knee pads.

– If you are digging, use a small spade so you don’t have to pick up too much, thereby putting less strain on the back. Always keep the shovel close to your body, your knees slightly bent, and scoop in a forward motion, avoid twisting.

– Vary tasks regularly rather than doing hours of repetitive movement such as weeding. Take time to stretch every 5 – 10 minutes.

– When lifting, be it a small plant or a heavy bag of rubbish, bend your knees and keep your back straight, both when picking up and putting down. Avoid twisting the back by facing the direction in which the load is to be carried.

– If using a hover  mower, you should push it in front of you and face the direction in which you are cutting the grass, rather than swinging it from side to side.

– Finally, never continue any activity if your back hurts or you have injured yourself. Try not to do more than one and a half to two hours per day, and work up slowly to longer days.


If you have been unlucky enough to injury yourself please contact Range of Motion Physical Therapy, Dublin for a an assessment and treatment.