Published on September 23, 2012
With summer now over for another year, autumn comes with the task of having to rake the falling leaves. Like shovelling snow, raking leaves can be difficult on the back, causing discomfort and/or pain anywhere along the spine. The nature of raking leaves consists of a position that can injure our back if not done properly.
It is critical to bend from the hips and rake with our legs, versus our low backs. Since this is a task that we don’t do often, it is crucial to take frequent breaks every 15 to 20 minutes to stretch backwards in the opposite position. This will reset your muscles from being hunched forward. Listen to your body and if you feel any soreness, stop and finish the task the next day so that you don’t overload your body and cause tissue damage. It is always important to err on the side of caution to prevent muscle soreness. Less is more!
Follow these simple tips to prevent low back pain while raking your front yard:
- Warm-up first by doing a five minute walk around your neighborhood.
- Do a few lunges to get your hips mobile and loose before raking.
- Make sure to hinge from the hips.
- Keep your low back in a neutral position maintaining lordosis – the reverse “c” curvature.
- Use your legs to power the movement and don’t pull from your back.
- Make sure you take frequent breaks every 15 to 20 minutes to reset your muscles.
- Dress warmly so you don’t get cold muscles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the task.
- Use a shovel instead of bending to down to pick up the leaves.
- Stretch your hips, glutes and low back following raking.