One of the most beautiful sites for many of us is the majestic colors that adore our trees as the sign of the autumn season. As we know that this beauty is brief for the trees soon lose their leaves and decorate our lawns with piles of wonderful less exciting dead debris. That beauty also comes at a price for our back, neck, and shoulders as we sweep, gather, and dispose of the leaves more than once this season. So if your home is subjected to leaves falling each year, follow these helpful tips and avoid the consequences of leaf-raking on the body, including strain and pain in the neck, the upper and lower back, and the shoulders.
Helpful Raking Tips
- Stretch before you commence work, and throughout, performing knee-to-chest stretches, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above the head, palms up and fingers weaved. Spend 10 to 15 minutes all together on your stretching. Intersperse the work with a short walk to get the circulation going throughout the body, and do the same stretches as a cool-down once you have finished.
- As you rake, stand erect with your head held up.
- Use a “scissors” stance when raking; that is, keep one foot forward for a few minutes, then swap and put the back foot forwards.
- When bending to pick up leaves or any other trash, bend at the knees not the waist.
- When mowing the lawn, put your whole body into the pushing, not just your arms and back.
- When starting a mower with a pull cord, bend at the knees and extend up in a smooth motion. Do not twist at the waist or yank at the cord.
- Keep well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and wear a hat in the sun. Always wear shoes and protective glasses, and use gloves if your hands are likely to receive rough treatment that might raise blisters. When using loud machinery, employ ear-protectors, and if you suffer from asthma or allergies, use a mask.
- Try to use ergonomically-friendly tools that help take the strain from your muscles and joints.
- An ice-pack can be used to ease any discomfort you feel following raking or other outdoor work.
Raking in the Benefit!
Enjoy the season but remember to follow the tips to rake in the benefits! If your discomfort does not dissipate within two to three days please contact your doctor of chiropractic.
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb