Back Saving Tips for Mulching

We sure do love our mulch here in northeast Ohio. Truth be told, however, more people love mulch (as a noun) than love to mulch (as a transitive verb). Oh sure, you’ll encounter the occasional gardener who will insist that mulching is not work, but most of us like the end result of mulching much more than the process itself.

And because most back pain is caused by muscle and ligament strain or weakness, too much mulching can cause low back pain and injury.

Start your mulching season off the right way with these back-saving tips:

Number 1It’s not a race. Going from couch potato to spreading 20 yards of mulch in one day (or weekend, for that matter) is…well…silly. Pace yourself. This is not a race. Trying to get all your mulching done at one time is asking for a back injury. Consider spreading mulch for 20 minutes, then switch to edging or weeding for 20 minutes and then maybe planting for 20 minutes. And take regular breaks. Sit down for a spell and have some water or iced tea—sweet iced tea, of course. Then start over again. By slowing down a bit and interchanging the tasks you will help your back stay healthy.

Number 2

You have two hands. Use both of them when working with lawn and garden tools. We all have a dominant hand, so we tend to feel more comfortable bending, lifting and twisting one direction compared to the other. But you can use the shovel and/or fork with either hand at the top or bottom of the handle, so do that. Lifting, loading and spreading mulch is not surgery; you have some margin for error. By switching back and forth with your right and left hand on the handle, you will help avoid the potential injury of repeated bending, lifting and twisting in one direction.

Number 3If your back starts to hurt, STOP! Back pain is a signal that something is wrong. The mulching can wait. Often times, if you stop when you feel the pain in your back and allow your body to recover for a day or two, you will be fine. But, if you keep mulching when your back has already started to hurt you increase the odds of having to see your chiropractor.

Already mulched before you read this? Check out, How Do You Know When You Should Go to the Chiropractor? Or, contact us for a same-day appointment at 330-877-3177.


  1. Jim did just as you recommended. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Penny. I hope Jim found the tips helpful.

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