Before You Rake the Fall Leaves

With temperatures dipping, local trees have sprung to life in shades of yellow, orange, and red, while the cool autumn breeze has strewn the leaves on our lawns.  Before you suit up to go out and gather the colorful foliage, I have a few precautions for you to bear in mind.

Playing in the Leaves is Fun, Raking Can Be More than a Chore

Raking leaves is one of those one-sided, repetitive activities that could upset the usual, happy balance in our backs.  Muscles in our back fire in unison to maintain our posture and allow us to do work, but toil in a manner that overworks one side, and this could lead to a real stiff back.

  • First, beware working predominantly on one side of the body, like when raking, digging, loading the dishwasher, placing groceries in your car, or putting a child into a car seat.  If you are raking or digging, try to periodically switch the side of your body, where you are working. If you are raking, specifically, alternate between raking front to back and side to side (across your body), to prevent any one group of muscles from fatiguing.
  • Split loading activities like packing the car’s truck or bagging those colorful leaves into separate squatting and bending movements.  Avoiding motions that simultaneously twist and bend the low back can help you steer clear of back pain.  Bending and rotating at the same time puts the spine in a position of weakness and increases the chances of injury – this is the mechanism that leads to many disc injuries.
  • When bending or lifting, bend your knees to lift with your legs.  The legs are the strongest muscles in your body and using the legs can save your back.

If you should happen to upset the delicate balance of muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons that allow for all our movements, remember I’m here at Matthews Chiropractic Center to help make everything work better again.  And, if just the thought of raking your leaves makes your back ache and pain-free is not your status quo, then chiropractic care could be your remedy.

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