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Posted on 10-07-2015

Image result for fall raking leaves images

     I’m sure you all have noticed with these last few cold mornings that Fall is officially here in the Metro West area. Along with Fall comes favorites such as picking Pumpkins, Pumpkin Spice coffee, Pumpkin rolls, Pumpkin Pie etc. and the dreaded task of raking leaves.
    As we look at our yards we can see that the leaves are starting to change. So far it has been very beautiful. Soon we will see that all the leaves have fallen covering our yards. 
     Some will think that shoveling snow causes more back pain, however it’s the leaf raking that causes more back pain. Why, because it needs to get done. Hours of raking and filling plastic bags the entire day. Here are few simple steps and you can greatly lessen your chances of being hurt doing this task.

Always Stretch: Leaf raking is a form of exercise, so treat it that way. What do we all do typically before we exercise? We stretch. Raking leaves should be no different. You should make sure that your muscles are ready for the work out. You should think especially about stretching the muscles that support the low back and of course, any muscle involved in the actual raking (for example, your arms and shoulders). Just take 5 minutes and get your body ready.

Maintain Proper Posture:. Staying hunched over while raking is simply not good for your back. That posture places extra strain on your low back. Your low back naturally curves inward. Poor raking posture rounds your low back more than it's used to, potentially leading to pain. So first of all, try to bend as much at the knees as you can. This lessens how much you have to bend at the waist.  Lastly, don't stay hunched for too long. Raking leaves isn't a speed contest. Take breaks, stand up straight, and walk around. Don't just stay hunched over for hours on end.

 Avoid Twisting:. Don't ever, ever, twist at your low back while holding heavy weight, i.e. leaves. This is a big contributor to low back pain. The solution is quite simple, keep the heavy load directly in front of you, take 2 steps with your feet and turn your entire body. Don't keep your feet stationary and twist. This takes all of 2 seconds to do, but it will save your back.

So take your time and don't hurt yourself. Take a few breaks or rest periods of 10-15 minutes after 30 minutes of raking and bagging. I’m sure the leaves won’t mind.   If you are having any back or neck problems before raking, please call us for an appointment so as to prevent further injury.

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