I find it amusing that when I ask people if they participate in any strenuous activities or sports, they often will say no, yet later in a session, they may mention soreness due to gardening.
A quick breakdown of the activities involved in gardening reveals a very athletic activity: pushing, pulling or lifting heavy equipment such as lawn mowers, weed wackers and rototillers; carrying bags of soil, garden tools and bedding plants; digging up weeds and harvesting plants which involves not only heavy lifting but likely doing so while in awkward positions.
Common issues include pain and tension in the back, shoulders, arms and neck, leading to muscle strains, joint sprains, headaches and susceptibility to injury in other activities of daily living.
Before starting on gardening tasks, particularly early in the season, try a quick warm-up routine involving back and shoulder stretches, lunges and forearm stretching. When lifting or pushing equipment and tugging weeds, try to use body weight rather than jerky muscle movements Work with good body mechanics and a straight back when possible. Rather than bending excessively, sit or kneel when possible and use a cushion or pad for your knees to lessen pressure. If you ache after a good gardening session, using warm or cool packs on your back, neck or shoulders can help loosen tight muscles.
Massage is beneficial to find tight spots that develop and can pull joints out of alignment. This lessens the chance of them causing more serious problems in the future. Addressing postural imbalance during a treatment and going over stretches after a session can help you stay healthy while gardening.