Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Gardening and Back pain

BetsyBBetsy Posts: 3
edited 11/24/2013 - 6:29 AM in Depression and Coping
This is my first post here. I just wanted to share some of my experiences.

I found that I had a herniated L4-L5 a few years ago and some degeneration in the adjacent discs. I'm female, mid 40s. The resultant pain made for some major life changes.

The surgery that the doctors were willing to do (Disc replacement) was not covered my my insurance, and so I have been left up to my devices to cope with the chronic pain.

One of the biggest problems was sleeping. Without a good night's rest, coping with my new forever-pain was impossible. I tried any number of arrangements of the floor, pillows, mattresses. What finally worked was a huge Brazillian style hammock. I sleep diagonally covered with down blankets (also one underneath the hammock. I sleep like a baby with no meds aside from anti inflammatories. I strongly recommend giving this a try if you have extension issues like me. It takes a while to get the hammock adjusted properly and learn to sleep in it correctly (diagonally), But I have gotten 2 years of solid sleep in mine regardless of the state of my back.

The thing that I missed the most with my bad back was gardening. The bending and stooping was really a problem. I ran into a partial solution that really gives the green part of my soul a chance to breathe. There is this primitive agriculture technique called seed balls, where you wrap the seeds in clay and compost- they can just be dropped on the ground, no need to bend over at all. Basically, you plant the seed standing up at your gardening bench, and then can throw it in your garden. You can make them yourself or just buy them on line a couple places :
I also found it well worth my while to hang out with other people with back pain. For me, that meant making friends with a more senior population. To do this, I joined the community band, where half my section is 60+ years old and most have back problems.We mention our aches and pains upon greeting, but only briefly. Mostly it is a chance to see others doing cool thing in spite of their bad backs, and gives me a long-term sense of perspective and hope. I don't really feel disabled, any more; I just have a bad back.

I hope this helps someone! I know I felt very helpless when my back first went out. Now three years out with no surgery, I am okay. Still in pain, but okay with it.

[Edit]I should mention that the doctors gave me all kinds of narcotic pain killers and flexeril. I hated the narcotics and won't take them. They make me dizzy. And the Flexeril really helps with spasms, but with my hammock and learning how to live with my back, I rarely need to take it. I just keep some on hand in case. I do take Maximum dosage of Aleve every day.

Link removed, solicitation not permitted.Please read the Forum rules
Post Edited by Liz (Moderator)



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Spine-Health contains detailed medical libraries of articles and videos that address almost every spinal conditions and treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 international members and growing daily.

    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

    - As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

    Here are some links you should take a look at:
    Read before you post
    Tips for Newcomers
    Understanding the rules

    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/spinehealth, Pinterest http://pinterest.com/spinehealth/boards/ , and Twitter @SpineHealth.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the private message facility to contact any one of the moderators on my team:






    Ron DiLauro


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • BetsyBBetsy Posts: 3
    edited 11/24/2013 - 6:45 AM
    Thank you for the welcome message! I like what you have going. It is so helpful to have the support of a community when the pain and frustration is overwhelming.

    I look forward to sharing on the forums.
  • Oh, sorry about the link. :o
    My mistake. Just tryin' to be helpful. :)

  • I also really miss being able to do gardening.
    In the spring time I do manage to plant up my pots because my husband lifts them up onto the patio table for me. It is very rewarding over the summer to enjoy the colourful pots that I planted.

    I would caution people trying to sleep in a hammock. I know a couple of people who are not used to them who have fallen out and hurt themselves. One of them dislocated their shoulder. You can do without that when you already have back pain! I am glad that you have found a position that you can sleep in. :-)

  • I grew up in Az in the high desert near the painted desert/petrified forest. While it is beautiful it is far from green. When I lived in Hawaii there was a small outdoor space off the condo and I was able to plant peppers and few flowers and things. I now live in Tennessee where if you stick it in the ground it will grow. When I first moved here I had over an acre and I landscaped and really had my yard looking wonderful. When I started having back issues I moved to a less demanding yard but was still able to garden. As my back has gotten worse I've turned to containers that are either on the porch at waist high or I can sit in a chair and work on them.
    I have a friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer and is only expected to live less than a year. He was planting a tree to surprise his wife when they noticed he wasn't making sense, called the tree a refrigerator and the shovel a stove. A month after he had the surgery to take out the tumor and biopsy I helped him finish the bed he had started and planted narcisus and hyacinth so that in the spring there will be a surprise for his wife when the flowers bloom. I pray that he is still here to share with her.
    Since I am scheduled for scheduled for cervical fusion next month I planted bulbs and violas in all the pots so I have some spring color. I know it will be at late spring at best before I could do any planting.
    When I'm working in the garden my pain always seem less and I tend to over do it and pay for it for days afterwards but the beauty of flowers and the wildlife the pond and yard attracts makes the pain a little easier to take.
    I will always find a way to do some gardening, though I have to pay to have the compost bin turned and the beds weeded, it is worth it...
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    my body doesnt love it that much.
    To make it easier for me, my wife set up about 20 different size containers, ranging from a foot of the ground to 3 feet.
    We plant them with all sorts of herbs (about 15) and rest with Hot pepper plants.
    This makes it so easy for me

    But, I still love our perennial garden and shrubs. For that, I find a spot I can work around, put most of my tools nearby and basically crawl over to spot to spot working on them. Cant really do any heavy digging, but we have this neat Japanese handtool that helps me dig and cut throw small roots, etd

    So, with the help of my wife, I've adapted a method that I can still do what I love and without hurting myself.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • DobieloverDDobielover Posts: 17
    edited 01/24/2014 - 4:53 PM
    I make every effort to keep my garden despite my spine problems.
    My husband tills it for me with a small garden tractor.
    For planting, weed pulling and harvesting I bring along a milk crate to use as a seat to minimize bending and stooping. When I have to bend I make, sure to bend my knees not my back and use a hoe or rake to lean on for balance.My potting table is tall so I don't end.. I have learned to live with a few and. crooked - row
    My rakes and hoes have extra long handles to prevnt having to stoop. I also use one as a cane to keep mybalance in
    I have a lightweight utility wagon to pull behind me, or sometimes I pull with the garden tractor. It saves me om carrying itemsfr. I have - a
  • I garden in small doses. I set out to do just so much per day or afternoon. I have trouble bending down low and I put everything higher on my garage shelves so I can get it easier. I have someone till my vegetable garden every year now.

    This year I'm getting 3 yards of mulch, I'll need help spreading that around but someone's always around.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
Sign In or Register to comment.