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Holistic Approaches for Optimal Well-being at Tucker Chiropractic

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Fall Into Yard Work Without the Back Pain: A Guide to Safe Raking and Mowing

November 15, 20233 min read

As the leaves start to fall and the crisp autumn air sets in, many of us are gearing up for some serious yard work. Whether you're raking up a colorful carpet of leaves or tending to your lawn with the lawnmower, it's essential to approach these tasks with caution. The last thing you want is to end up with back pain, neck strain, or shoulder discomfort. Just like any physical activity, improper techniques can lead to injuries. So, before you dive into fall yard work, let's explore some helpful tips to avoid back pain and ensure a pain-free autumn.

1. Warm-Up Your Body: Just as athletes warm up before a game, your body needs preparation before tackling yard work. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends incorporating 10 to 15 minutes of stretching exercises without bouncing. Include knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head. Take short breaks for a walk to stimulate circulation. Repeat the stretching routine after completing your yard work to cool down.

2. Maintain Proper Posture: Keep your back and neck in mind as you rake or mow. Stand as straight as possible, and avoid slouching. Keep your head up to maintain a neutral spine position, reducing the strain on your back and neck muscles.

3. Time Your Tasks: Plan your yard work during cooler hours to avoid the heat. If you're an early riser, get the job done before 10 a.m. For night owls, save your chores for after 6 p.m. This helps you avoid the peak temperatures and minimizes the risk of dehydration and exhaustion.

4. Adopt a "Scissors" Stance: When raking, use a "scissors" stance to distribute the workload evenly. Start with your right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then switch to your left foot forward and right foot back. This simple technique can prevent muscle fatigue and reduce the risk of strain.

5. Mind Your Movement: When picking up piles of leaves or grass, bend at the knees instead of the waist. Create smaller piles to decrease the load and minimize the possibility of back strain. Alternate hand positions regularly to avoid overworking one side of your body.

6. Engage Your Whole Body: While mowing, utilize your entire bodyweight to push the mower, not just your arms and back. If your mower has a pull cord, avoid twisting at the waist. Instead, bend at the knees and pull smoothly to prevent unnecessary strain.

7. Stay Hydrated and Protected: Drink plenty of water, especially during warmer days. Wear a hat, sturdy shoes, and protective glasses. Consider wearing gloves to prevent blisters and use hearing protection if your equipment is loud. If you have asthma or allergies, a mask can help filter out irritants.

8. Explore Ergonomic Tools: Invest in ergonomic tools designed to protect your body when used correctly. These tools are engineered to reduce strain and promote better posture during yard work.

9. Ice and Rest: If you do experience soreness or stiffness, use ice to soothe discomfort. If the pain persists for two or three days, consider seeking professional advice from a chiropractor or healthcare provider, such as Dr. Tucker.

This fall, let's make yard work enjoyable and pain-free by incorporating these simple yet effective tips. Taking care of your body during autumn chores ensures that you can relish the beauty of the season without the added burden of back pain.

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Dr. Kevin Tucker

Dr. Kevin Tucker DC. Chiropractor. Blue Springs, MO

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