The end of summer tends to bring with it the waning sun, shorter days, and cooler breezes – and the yardwork that goes along with the season. Before you reach for the rake this fall, consider the possible consequences of jumping into such strenuous work: upper or lower back strain, neck strain and pain in the shoulders.
Just as playing a sport can injure your body, the twisting, turning, bending and reaching of mowing and raking can also cause injury if your body is unprepared. Like an athlete, if you leap into something without warming up or knowing how to do it properly, the chances of injury increase.
To protect the body against pain and strain, follow these simple yard work tips:
- Wear the proper footwear that provides good arch support
- When mowing or raking, stand up straight!
- Avoid the heat by working in the morning or late afternoon
- When raking, stand with one foot slightly forward and switching out after a few minutes
- When picking up leaves or equipment, bend at the knees and lift with the legs
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after yard work
Tips on Using Outdoor Equipment
If yard equipment is not used correctly, the body and especially the back can pay the price. The ACA warns that improper use of any piece of equipment can lead to back and neck pain.
- Use the straps provided on equipment to provide a center of gravity when using the piece of equipment
- Switch sides often when operating a piece of equipment to balance the muscles used
- Invest in ergonomic tools that are engineered to protect the back
- If using a push mower, use all of the muscles in the body, especially the legs
- Bend the knees when starting a pull-cord mower instead of bending over at the waist
- Rest frequently to avoid muscle fatigue which can lead to injury
To help avoid injury, include a warm-up/cool-down period that involves stretching. Breathe in and out slowly throughout each stretching exercise until the muscle is stretched to its furthest point. At that point, hold your breath in; when you relax, breathe out. You should not feel pain.
- Stand up and prop your heel on a back door step or stool with your knee slightly bent. Bend forward until you feel a slight pull at the back of the thigh, called the hamstring. Stabilize yourself by holding on to a garage door handle or sturdy tree branch. Hold the position for 20 seconds, then relax. Repeat with the other leg.
- Stand up and put your right hand against a wall or other stable surface. Bend your left knee and grab your ankle with your left hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks to stretch your quadriceps muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold that position for 20 seconds.
- Weave your fingers together above your head with your palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the side of your upper body, then reverse. Repeat two or three times.
Chiropractic Care Can Help
If you experience pain or discomfort following yard work, contact us. Chiropractors are trained and licensed to treat the musculoskeletal system and can also help you lead a healthier life by focusing on wellness and prevention.
About Discover Health & Wellness – Aurora
Dr. Aaron Hancock of Discover Health & Wellness Aurora is located just off South Parker Road and offers patients a natural and holistic approach to health improvement and pain reduction. Services at Discover Health & Wellness include chiropractic care, spinal correction, corrective exercises, lifestyle advice, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, allergy treatment and spinal and postural screenings.
Discover Health & Wellness, Aurora
5001 S Parker Road , #211
Aurora CO 80015