With fall upon us, it is only a matter of time before the leaves start to turn their autumn colours and start falling. It makes for a picturesque scene, to be sure, but then there is the matter of what to do with all those fallen leaves. Leaf-blowers tend to just move the problem around, rather than dealing with it, so what you are left with is the prospect of raking your yard every other week to keep up with the piling mess. For some, it is a minor inconvenience at best, but for those suffering back and neck pain, it can be… well, a real pain. To avoid back pain when raking the leaves this fall, follow these handy tips.
As with any physical activity, a little pre-emptive warm-up goes a long way. Take a walk around the block beforehand to get the blood flowing, and once warmed up, be sure to stretch a bit, as stiff, cool muscles are more susceptible to injury than those that have been properly stretched and warmed. If you are unsure which stretches are right for you, visit Transform Chiropractic to learn more about practicing good spinal health.
Get The Right Rake
There is such a thing as the wrong rake. If your rake is too heavy, like many of the old wood and metal variations, it can put undue stress on your back when you move it around. If your rake is too short, you will find yourself bending over unnaturally to get the job done, which puts further stress on your back. There are some people, in fact, who forego the rake altogether, using alternative tools instead, like the leaf scoops and leaf claws.
Practice Good Posture
Keep your knees lightly bent, your lower back naturally curved, (i.e. not excessively rounded, so as to cause discomfort) and rake with your arms rather than your back. Try to avoid twisting motions as well; many impatient homeowners, in an attempt to get the job done quickly, will stand in one spot and pivot around to rake as many leaves in their immediate vicinity, but opens you up to potentially harmful twisting. Also, try switching up your raking arm periodically, therefore switching up your movement.
Take A Few Breaks & Stay Hydrated
It is very important, whether you suffer back pain or are simply trying to avoid it, not to push yourself. Take frequent breaks, allowing your muscles and spine some time to relax; it is oftentimes the repetitive motion of an activity that causes pain, and breaking up the repetition helps attenuate that effect. And remember to drink water – not only is there ample evidence that dehydration can cause back pain, but any physical activity should be accompanied by proper hydration.
Don’t “fall” for back pain. This fall, when it comes time to rake your
leaves, do it the right way by visiting a chiropractor for stretching tips,
choosing the right rake (or no rake at all), minding your posture and taking
frequent water breaks. Leave stiffness to the scarecrows – follow these easy