10. Add raised beds and walls to sit on.
You can reduce the need to bend or reach by adding raised garden beds. If you prefer to work standing up straight, add waist-height raised beds with trailing plants over the side to hide the edges of the plant box. If it’s easier for you to sit while gardening, add raised beds encased by low walls that are wide enough for to serve as benches. Make sure you maintain proper posture while sitting on the walls of raised flowerbeds – pull your shoulders up and keep your back straight.
If you feel pain while you’re gardening, “that’s your body telling you to stop,” according to Dr. Boline. However, she warns against stopping all movement entirely. “Don’t sit down,” she says. “Go for a little walk, even if it’s just down to the end of the block and back. If you just sit down, you’ll experience swelling and you may not be able to get back up again.”
The main thing to remember when gardening with a bad back is to break up the work into manageable increments and to continue stretching your muscles throughout the process. Just like an athlete needs to cool down after a race, so too should you cool down when you’re done with your gardening work. Take some deep breaths and stretch again before going inside. “Try not to bite off more than you can physically handle and use heat or ice at the end of the day if you’re sore,” says Lips. Then take a hot shower to relax your muscles and drink lots of fluid to keep your body hydrated. Happy gardening!