Great to find this forum

FatHen(zone 7)December 1, 2002

It's great to find this forum...I have chronic back problems that have prevented me from doing a lot of things I love, including gardening, lately. I was figuring I'd just have to give it up when I found this forum! It's very inspiring and encouraging.

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Me too. Found a good back specialist in Tulsa who advised me on what 'not' to do. Have been able to revise both the garden and gardening activity so it has not become too much of a challenge. Not to bend, kneel, or dig.. OK.. so take a small washable rug and sit or relcine while weeding..( but then there's the getting up later...) no kneeling... we have a terraced garden with both switchback paths and don't need to do a lot of step climbing.. but have rails on the steps. Nice to be able to stand on a lower level and work on one above.. doing the reaching with the tools..Use lasange gardening to build up raised beds.. We put the plant debris at the base of a wall , let it build up and gradually decay and decline, and then plant over it. We also use wire cages made from farm fencing wire to hold leaves to compost.. leave the compost where it is and plant . Use the cages in another location. We can't dig much anyway because of the rock sub surface.. The thing to remember is not to do things that put stress on our backs.. Have not had too much of a challenge since following these speific instructions... good luck..

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 7:40AM
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Welcome enchantedplace - thank you for your advice, however, with your permissions ( as I have had three back surgeries) I would like to add to the suggestions you have already made. My particular problem has been 30 years in the making and so of necessity, I believe I have tried everything that was ever suggested to me. Most of which never really helped. Have we ever taken the time to find out why our backs are so weak? Well obviously the first reason is that we have abused it. So how do we rectify that problem? Much of what you have suggested is good AFTER you get your back, back in shape. As I said before, I don't believe that there is anything I have not tried, I have grasped at every straw, (except this device that is being inserted just below the skin of your spine, and I am seriously looking in to that option now) This device if it will work for me will only ease the pain, however, the basic problem of a weak body will remain, so that too is only a short term solution. It has taken me all these years to finally figure out why my back just collapses. It is my STOMACH muscles that hold my back up. And because like most of us I do not do enough excercise to build up my stomach muscles (or any other muscles for that matter)that we find ourselves in trouble. All my resolve to do something about it, i.e. an exercise bike, a treadmill etc. are sitting in the basement where I suspect all of our equipment ends up.
I am certain that the suggestion I am about to make is going to be thought of "just an thing, fad', however, with the help of my excellent family physician I have found a very good Yoga teacher, (and no I am not standing on my head.)
She is teaching me what is called "Restorative Yoga". Yoga if done correctly strengthens every single muscle in your entire body. It even works on your lymph nodes. In two years of very hard work, I have been able to strengthen my stomache muscles so that it now supports my spine enough to allow me to get out of my wheel chair for short periods of time, I bypassed that walker that I dreaded and now I can use my cane sometimes. To some that may sound like precious little, however, to those who are bedridden most of the day, it is A WHOLE LOT.
I just want to say one last thing in favour of Yoga. Most people are under the impression that they are trying to convert people to Buddaism. And I can vouch, THAT THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE. I am not of the Bussist faith, however I know a little about it only because I have asked questions about the religion and that was NEVER during a Yoga Session. Perhaps this is a little off topic, however, from the little I do know about Buddism, I truly believe that if more people could learn about some of their philosophy, I sincerely believe that this world would be a much better place in which to live.
Please forgive me for digressing a little. It is just that most of the people I have spoken with are under a total false impression. Most believe that Yoga is a religion,which it is not. Perhaps I feel so stongly because, I was of the same false impression and had I continued to be so unreceptive, I would be totally bedridden now, and not talking about how to make gardening easier for myself and others. Only two short years ago this was an impossible dream. Only one word of caution, because many think of this as a good way to make money, they become teachers. Make sure your Yogii is certified and check the certification. They will not be offended if they really are certified. I stress this because those who do not have the proper training can do you some irrepairable damage.
Once you are in shape you will find that even some of the things that enchantedplace mentioned will be able to be done in MODERATION. Don't forget to pace yourself and NEVER overdo anything. There are ways to bend that will not hurt you, however, if you should bend the wrong way, your back will tell you immediately to stop. And so it is with most of the things we must bear in mind at all times. Listen to your body and it will tell you your limits. Punky.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 10:02PM
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Well said. I always encourage having a good evaluataion. I was unaware until after age 50 that a birth defect existed although not too profound it threw me off balance. Just the way we sit, stand, lift, sleeping position, and how much we weigh can make a difference .

    Bookmark   December 2, 2002 at 12:08AM
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Ah, Punky, WELL SAID!!! I too have a bad back and fibromyalgia. Last January I dislocated my pelvis and slipped 3 disks. I have tried just about everything as well. I have had back problems on and off during my life but was very physically active until age 43 and rode horses, hiked, swam, went skiing and the list goes on and on. I even waited tables in an extremely busy upscale restaurant while going to school in my 40's. Until my 20's I was a dancer. Then I was assaulted 12 years ago and life became the bed and the wheelchair.

I find that the chiropractor can put back together the most severe dislocations, the acupuncturist can help with the pain, the homeopathic got rid of the chronic fatigue and strengthed my immune system and stamina and now Five Element Acupuncture has helped more than anything else. My acupuncturist got me started with simple yoga and it has also helped so much that it seems miraculous. Just never give up or give in and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish over time!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2002 at 11:22PM
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Newt, could you give us some insight on the specific things you are doing for the chronic fatigue and immune system? thanks..

    Bookmark   December 5, 2002 at 6:51AM
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I don't really have a "back" problem but with my patio garden I am playing a risky game here with moving some of my larger pots, as some weigh 80-100 pounds. Already I have had to take several days rest because of spraining my right shoulder. Did it happen from one thing or from 3 days of "intensive" gardening! who knows!

All I can suggest is slow down and be more careful but when the old garden bug bites, it's like having that mean old 12 pound largemouth bass on the end of ur line and u only have an 8 pound test line! decisions, decisions people!!!

Take care and have a wonderful (but safe) garden year :-)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2003 at 2:51PM
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riverstone6(WA Aust)

Hi from NZ--I am an amputee( below knee) with a major back problem, I managed to demolish 3 discs as well as break 2 vertebra. After 23 lots of surgery to stick me together again my garden is my joy!! My partner asked if I knew how many pots there are in our garden, he thought 80 and i was a little embarassed to confess to 94!!! Some of my plant friends have been in their pots for 18 years, mucking about with them stopped me going crazy--oops!-- that could be arguable. We bought our 1/2 acre 3 years ago and built our home and garden from a bare clay patch, we moved in a mere 2 years ago and now have trees 3-4 meters tall. I can now mow the lawns, ride on mower is a great toy and makes this "chore" fun. When the pain is horrid I stick my nose in a catalogue and dream up new plant combos, or struggle out with secateurs and cut something to take my mind off the discomfort--pills are swapping one set off trouble for another, don't like the side effects!!
Tools for reaching weeds and taller branches are a challenge for me--any bright ideas out there?? How do you meet the challenge.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2003 at 9:24AM
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