The Autumn season has arrived and the leaves have begun to fall. Unfortunately, this means those leaves will need to be raked up and disposed of. As too many people know, this activity can be very hard on the lower back, and can often re-aggravate old back injuries or cause new ones. The repetitive motion that people use while raking, involving the arms, shoulders, and back, can cause a lot of damage to their spine!
When you are going to rake the leaves in your yard, keep these tips in mind:
- Stretch first - The muscles in the lower back, shoulders, and arms are the ones used the most while raking, so focus the stretches on them. The following are some good examples:
- Bent Knee With Ankle in Hand Stretch – While holding on to something for support, lift one foot up and back behind your rear end and hold it there with one hand. This stretches the front thigh of the bent leg. Hold for 10 deep breaths and repeat for the other leg.
- Counter-Top Stretch – Place your hands on a tabletop or counter, then walk backwards while keeping your hands in place, bending your hips and reaching out until your body makes an L shape. This will stress your back and entire torso. Hold the stretch for 10 deep breaths.
- Heel Up Stretch – First hold on to something for support. Then lift your leg and place your heel on a chair while keeping the leg straight, tighten your thigh and pull your toes towards your body. Don’t bend at all, and remain standing tall for 10 deep breaths. This stretches the back of the leg.
- Keep your back straight - You always want to keep your back straight and to avoid twisting at the waist.
- Keep moving - If you stay in one spot when raking, you have to reach and bend more, which puts more strain on the lower back. So always remember to move around often.
- Don't rake in long sweeps - It's important to use short strokes with the rake to reduce the amount of reaching, stretching and twisting that is done.
- Take breaks often - Pause every 15 minutes or so to stretch your muscles. Don’t be in a hurry to finish. You can even split the job up over several days if possible.
The Illinois Back Institute strives to educate everyone about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
Also, if you would like to learn more about how we can eliminate your back, neck, and sciatica pain, you can join us for our Back Pain and Sciatica Relief Webinar! Just click on the link below for information on the Webinar and how to register for it:
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