How to combat chronic pain during gardening

If you have a green thumb, the summer weather affords you the opportunity to take all the steps necessary to get your garden ready for the warm weather months. As you spend a long day standing, kneeling, and crouching over your flower beds, you may be surprised to find yourself waking up the next day with aching muscles and the need to take some days off away from your favorite activity.

Pain after gardening can be a sign of the aging process, but it may also be a clear sign that you are experiencing unnecessary strain based on how you perform various gardening tasks. Through changes in your behavior and the use of FSA-eligible wellness products, you can re-discover your favorite hobby without contending with discomfort. Here are a few ways to get started!

  1. Limber Up!

Gardening is strenuous work, so you should treat it like any other form of physical activity and make an effort to stretch first, suggests Light stretching and a short walk can be a good means of warming up before gardening, and if you experience lower back pain from gardening, a back flexion exercise may be a good option. Start by lying down on your back, and slowly bring your knees to your chest and lift your head slightly to stretch your lower back muscles.

  1. Braces and Elastic Supports

If you have joint or back issues, gardening can put major strain on these trouble areas. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit will cover a huge range of over-the-counter braces and elastic supports like knee braces, elastic bandages, lower back braces and more that can provide additional stability and prevent awkward movements that could cause additional strain.

  1. Lift Carefully

A full watering can or a heavy pot can be far heavier than you might realize, which can lead to sudden injuries if you are not lifting in the correct fashion. According to The Mayo Clinic, the correct way to lift is to bend your knees, grasp the object with both arms and slowly straightening out your legs as you lift. Additionally, it may be wise to use wagons or dollies to carry large items from place to place.

  1. Take frequent breaks

It can be easy to lose track of time when planning out your garden beds and beautifying your yard, which is why it's important to take frequent breaks, suggests Prevention magazine. In addition, it's important to avoid performing one job for an extended period of time to prevent overworking one muscle group. For instance, if you're weeding a flower bed, switch to a job like pruning for another hour and come back to weeding so you don't overwork specific areas.

  1. Raised garden beds

As you plan out your gardening projects for the year, raised garden beds may be the perfect solution to avoid joint and back strain. Vertical wall gardens, raised planters and tabletop arrangements may be better options than ground-level beds to help you avoid gardening pain while still practicing your favorite hobby.

For everything you and your loved ones need to stay healthy this summer and beyond, rely on! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your employee benefits!

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