Raking leaves is a common activity during fall months, and unfortunately, so are back injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 28,000 people are treated each year for back, neck, and shoulder injuries directly related to disposing of leaves. While yard work may seem like a routine, simple job, it is actually a vigorous aerobic workout and can be quite strenuous. There are a number of different movements and body positions required for clearing leaves from your yard, such as bending, twisting, lifting and stretching. If your body mechanics become compromised, you’ll risk injuring your spine or other joints, such as the knees or shoulders. We want to keep our patients healthy this year by helping them avoid the strain and pain that can accompany yard work. To help you minimize injury to your back, neck, shoulders and wrists we recommend the following.
Tips To Prevent Back Injury
• Stretch. Doing this before and after you rake will warm your muscles
first, then relieve tension when you are done.
• Use the proper size rake. A rake that is lightweight and easy to use for
your body size and strength is best. To increase leverage, you should
keep adequate space between both of your hands as they grip the
handle of the rake.
• Bend at the knees, not the waist. Don’t reach too far with the rake
and extend your back. Stay in a normal, upright position and use
shorter raking strokes instead of long, reaching ones. When picking
things off the ground, hinge at your hips and bend your knees. DO NOT
bend from your lower back.
• Avoid twisting your body. Use your legs to shift your weight rather
than twisting your back to throw leaves over your shoulder or to the
side. Twisting movements can cause significant strain on the back
muscles and cause back injuries.
• Don’t overfill leaf bags or tarps. You should be able to carry bags or
drag tarps comfortably, so make sure they aren’t too heavy or large.
• Wear proper shoes. Your feet should have proper support, and the
soles of your shoes should be skid-resistant to minimize the risk of
falling or slipping on wet leaves.
• Listen to your body. Raking is an aerobic activity so pace yourself and
take breaks as needed.
When raking leaves, your hands are in the same position for an extended period of time. This puts repetitive stress on only one side of the back, neck, shoulder and affects one hand and wrist more significantly. A chiropractic adjustment can alleviate the physical stress associated with raking leaves and other forms of yard work. Accent Chiropractic will help your body maintain optimal function all season long. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. Thank you for allowing us to do so