Help your back with wise wateringMany of us love to tend to our plants. In our area, water restrictions may be so severe that using a hose to keep the garden alive is a thing of the past. You may be forced to take other measures to preserve your precious plants, but they come with hidden dangers.

Watering garden beds and plants using a bucket or watering can is a great way to establish and maintain plants and reduce water wastage. But while buckets and watering cans are efficient, cheap, and easy to use, they have the potential to cause injury if you lift or carry them incorrectly.

Wrist, shoulder and back pain is more likely when carrying heavy buckets and watering cans, and lifting awkward loads. Warming up with a few stretches can make a difference, and it’s worth stretching a bit more when you’re done.

Here are some timely tips to minimise the risk of injury when lugging litres of water around to help keep both your garden and your body really healthy:

  • Always think before you lift.
  • When lifting, remember to bend your knees and not your back. Never twist your body when your back is bent.
  • Choose a bucket or watering can with a wide grip to reduce hand and wrist pain.
  • Never overfill your bucket. Only carry as much weight as you know you can lift comfortably. Tip: half fill buckets to lighten the load and help avoid wrist and shoulder pain.
  • Try lifting two lighter buckets rather than one heavy bucket, so the load is distributed equally on each side of the body. Tip: use two-litre milk bottles for watering.
  • Always carry buckets and pour water as close to your body as possible. Holding any weight away from your body increases the stress on your upper body and back.
  • Place the bucket on a raised platform to fill it so you don’t have to lift it as far. Tip: try a stool or chair.
  • Make all movements smooth. Avoid jerking or twisting.
  • Ensure the pathway where you are carrying the buckets is free of trip hazards and choose the flattest path possible.
  • Watch where you place your feet to avoid stumbling. Tip: wear comfortable, supportive shoes with non-slip soles.

Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop. If the pain continues, your physio can recommend stretches and exercises to help you get fit for watering and gardening and so avoid injury.

Call Maleny Physiotherapy for an appointment on 5494 3911.