Fall is upon us and every year we see a large influx of patients with low back pain, usually occurring after raking up leaves. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to protect your back from the likelihood of injury:
- Prepare for the task with some warming up – a 5 minute energetic walk will help your muscles to warm up.
- Keep An Eye on Your Posture – like any other activity form is important. Pain and strain is caused when your body is positioned awkwardly. To keep good posture, rake with your arms not your back, bend the knees slightly and take a break every 15 – 20 minutes and stretch by placing your hands on your waist and do a backbend that lasts about 4 seconds; repeat 5 times.
- Get The Right Rake – make sure the length suits your body size. You don’t want it too long or too short. And note that the wider the rake is the more weight you’ll be pulling so pay attention to what you’re about to pull.
- Hydrate – muscles require hydration to function best.
- Don’t Forget To Use Your Knees – keep your back straight and bend with your knees and hips when lifting. This reduces the strain on your back.
- It’s All About The Numbers – the more the merrier. Rake into several small piles so you’re not lifting too heavy a pile at once.
- Take a Break – there’s no need to get all your raking done in one shot. It’s a good idea if you have a lot of raking to do to break it up into multiple efforts.
We encourage you to get outside and be active but just be smart about it. Happy raking!