This was an interesting take on preventing back strain and injury when gardening (and, I would think, during other bending/lifting/stretching activity):
The professional in the video states that she doesn’t see much evidence that traditional back strain prevention methods, such as lifting from the knees, necessarily prevent back strain/injury after all.
Instead, what she recommends is that one builds up one’s core (the abdominals, obliques and other muscles that hold up the abdomen and trunk).
I’m not going to suggest that anyone stop lifting from the knees while gardening. Anecdotally (and I realize that this is a sample size of one), I DO find that lifting from the knees and other truisms work well to protect my back. On the other hand, there’s no doubt core strengthening protects the back. When I injured my back several years ago, that’s exactly what my physiotherapist told me and that’s where my exercises during my tenure there were focused.
Obviously, the only recommendation is to see your doctor and ask what s/he recommends. If physical therapy is in order due to a strain, follow those orders exactly and be VERY careful in the meantime while puttering around in your garden. Meanwhile, building up your core strength can only help (if you do it correctly – again, see your physician, physiotherapist or chiropractor) in all your endeavors. The core holds up the entire body and when you’ve injured your back, trust me – you feel it everywhere, with every movement.
Taking care of your body know can prevent issues later and will keep your gardening experience a happy one.
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