Gardening Can Be a Pain in the A%$…Literally


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Ellie Dukes

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As the weather gets warmer, people are breaking out the gardening gloves and tools. While gardening can be a deeply therapeutic activity, it also can cause a lot of pain. The body is in awkward positions for extended periods of time…and let’s not forget lifting heavy bags of soil and the shoveling involved. All of this can cause aches and pains in the back, hips, and joints. Here are some ways that you can have relief:

  • Limit the amount of time you do garden work. Spending 20-30 minutes at a time will help to decrease the amount of strain placed on the muscles and joints.
  • Take breaks every five to ten minutes to stretch the back, shoulders, and hands.
  • Use good posture while lifting bags of soil and tending to the earth. Lift with your knees while keeping your back straight.

Self-care is very important for gardeners. Regular massage therapy can help.

Here’s how:

  • Assisted stretches, and Thai yoga massage, can help relieve low back pain. The licensed massage therapist will do this in a variety of ways. This includes bending the knees into the chest, spinal twists, and other healing arts techniques.
  • Massage cupping is great for back pain. Instead of using pressure with the hands as traditionally done in western massage, it uses suction cups to lift the soft tissues of the body. This improves the flow of blood and lymph, decreases muscle pain, and soothes the nervous system. The cups sometimes leave a mark, but it is gone in a few days. Cupping can be done as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with Swedish massage.
  • Try deep tissue massage on the low back and glutes. The quadratus lumborum muscle is a low back muscle located on both sides of the spine. It attaches to the last rib and the pelvic bone. This muscle can become inflamed while gardening because of the constant bending. The glutes and other hip muscles can also become irritated while gardening, especially if the quadratus lumborum muscle is already achy or injured. If dysfunction is present in this muscle, the glutes may overcompensate, thus causing more pain. Deep tissue massage techniques help to work the muscles and connective tissues in a way that interrupts pain signals, while improving mobility. A study published in Scientific World Journal, concluded that “DTM [deep tissue massage] had a positive effect on reducing pain in patients with chronic low back pain. Concurrent use of DTM and NSAID [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] contributed to low back pain reduction in a similar degree that the DTM did” (Majchrzycki, et. al. 2014).

Don’t let gardening cause undo pain and stress on your body. Try the self-care techniques listed above and remember to take breaks! Happy gardening!

Yours in Health,


Are you searching for an expert Licensed Massage Therapist, who knows the ins and outs of chronic pain relief, Look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. However, I offer an array of massage services. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA. Call to Schedule your appointment today at 267-584-3015 or Book online now.

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