When I started gardening, I did not consider my comfort when working on certain projects or at different times of the year. Being improperly dressed or showing up to garden sites without the proper gear made for some pretty miserable experiences. I endured many unnecessary (fibromyalgia) flare ups from gardening in sneakers and also not having proper layers on during chilly spring workdays.
In addition to having fibromyalgia (which I discussed in my previous post), I also struggle with knee and back pain and issues with my hands. The items that I am sharing are based on my personal issues but I think that choosing comfort and considering safety in the garden is important whether you experience chronic pain or not. As a result, most of these items will be helpful to anyone working in the garden.
On days where I’m doing heavy lifting in the garden or strenuous activity, I like to wear a back brace. I prefer an option with a lumbar insert to give extra support to the lower back and find that the brace gives me comfort but also extra support for activities that could cause back pain.
When my knees are bothering me, I wear a knee brace. I like a lightweight adjustable fabric which I find to be most comfortable. I also wear knee pads when I have to do tasks that require kneeling.
While I love having my hands in the soil, there are times when gloves are necessary. I like a glove made from a breathable fabric that fits snug to the hand for general garden tasks. I will use different gloves for more specialized tasks such as managing roses or building structures.
In terms of clothing, I like to dress in layers so that I can maintain comfort on long work days. This gives me the flexibility to add or remove items as the day goes on. I make sure that I always have appropriate outerwear on hand, avoiding items that are bulky and might restrict movement. I also wear visors, headbands and baseball caps as needed. I find wide brimmed hats useful as well.
Lastly, I want to touch on shoes which I think are most important when gardening with chronic pain. I like to have a few different options on hand. In summer, I love a slide on sandal for quick trips outside to harvest, water or work on pest management. I also like to wear garden clogs when doing tasks that require foot protection. In cooler weather, I enjoy wearing a weatherproof work boot with comfortable insoles.
Please check out my IGTV video on Instagram for more details about how I choose comfort while gardening with chronic pain. If you are living with chronic pain and have found any particular items to be especially helpful to you, please share those items in the comments.