Documents: Special Interest: Horticultural Therapy:

Getting Back to the Garden
by News Canada
May 13, 2007

The strenuous physical activity of lifting, digging, and planting associated with gardening is recognized as good exercise. However, these activities can lead to injury if performed incorrectly or for too long.

What's the impact of improper gardening techniques?

  • Repetitive strain injuries of the wrist and elbow.
  • Sprain/strain injuries to muscles throughout the body, but especially in the lower back.
  • Causes wear and tear on joints and muscles.
  • Lead to re-occurring or chronic pain and decreased independence, which impacts ones quality of life.

My back is sore after gardening. What do I do?

  • This may be soft tissue pain from using inactive joints/muscles. In this case, movement is probably more helpful than rest. Try moderate activity e.g walking and stretching for at least 10 minutes per hour.
  • During the first 24-hours try applying a cold pack to your muscle pain, (once an hour for 10 to 15 minutes), or a heat pack after 48-hours have passed.
  • Liniments or a gentle massage can provide temporary relief.
  • If pain persists, visit a chiropractor. However, if you are experiencing severe chest pain contact/go to your local hospital emergency department.

For more information about the Plant and Rake Gardening Program visit the public education programs and material section of the Ontario Chiropractic Association Web site at or call 1 877-327-2273.

- News Canada

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