It’s summer time and the weeds have taken over!  If you find yourself bent over an endless supply of weeds you might find yourself with an achy back the next day.  Here are some simple tips for doing some pain free gardening this summer.

1. Neutral pelvis

Neutral pelvis

Pelvis motion and stability are key to maintaining a pain free back.  Focus on using your front, side, and back core muscles to “lock” neutral pelvis into place.  Try to keep this during yard work (and ANY work for that matter).

2. Proper bending

Hip hinge for pain free weeding

Its all in the hips for pain free gardening

Bend at the hips!  It’s called a hip-hinge.  If you are bending in the lumbar spine for extended periods of time you will fatigue and feel pain or soreness.  If you were bending over with a straight pole held to your back, it should touch at the head, mid back, and butt.  If the pole ever leaves one of those areas as you bend, you’re doing it wrong!

3. Use a strap

strap for pain free weeding

Regardless of what piece of equipment you are using, make sure it has a strap and that you USE IT! The strap should go over the shoulder on the opposite side of your body from the device.  This will help normalize your center of gravity.

4. Use both sides of your body

body imbalance

It’s important to balance your body and switch it up once in a while.  Alternate your stance and motion as well.  All this will lead to a more balanced body.

5. Take frequent breaks

Chronic back pain study review - Portland chiropractor

It is important to rest your body during long weeding adventures.  Take breaks to give the fatigued muscles a chance to relax.  If proper bending and posture is difficult for you, additional breaks may be needed.

6. Simple stretches afterwards

Pain free gardening psoas stretch

Starting position. Front foot is extended out beyond 90 degrees. Back knee and leg are lined up with the upper body.

Pain free gardening psoas stretch

Lean your body and pelvis forward while keeping your upper body perpendicular to the ground. For added stretch, raise your hands above your head and arch your back slightly.

pain free gardening hamstring stretch

With a fencer stance, bend over a straight front leg.

pain free gardening bruggers

Stretch the hands back, palms up as far as you can go.

pain free gardening bruggers stretch

Retract your chin into your neck. Hold for 3 deep breaths or about 20 seconds.

Pain free gardening lumbar stretch

Starting position

Pain free gardening lumbar stretch

Gently stretch your legs to the side while keeping your opposite arm extended. Try and keep both shoulder blades touching the ground.

Do these stretches after a long gardening or weeding session.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.  Stretching always works better if you relax, breathe, stretch gently and smoothly.

7. Chiropractic can help

Sports chiropractor for the NFL

33% of NFL teams had a chiropractor on their medical staff. The other 77% referred out for private chiropractic care.

If you experience pain or discomfort resulting from over-doing it during a gardening or weeding session, call your chiropractor.  Doctors of chiropractic are train and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system, and can help people lead healthier lives by focusing on wellness and prevention.

The Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness Blog is written by Chris Cooper, DC.

Portland OR Chiropractors at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness provide customized chiropractic care to the Portland OR, Gresham OR, Clackamas OR, Beaverton OR and Vancouver WA communities.  Visit our main website at

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (503) 257-1324 or request with our online form.