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Raking Techniques to Avoid Injury

Fall is upon us and so are the injuries associated with this time of year. Some of the most common injuries we treat during the fall season are low back injuries related to endless hours of raking and yard work. Dr. Tom Tozer recommends six tips to avoid these common injuries:

  1. Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment: Gloves are an important tool to have on hand to avoid blisters. In addition to gloves, it is important to have a rake handle that is long enough based on the users height. A taller individual would want a longer handle to avoid excessive bending.
  2. Stand Upright: Hunching over a rake for long periods of time is a great way to provoke back pain. In addition to a size-appropriate rake handle, it is best to apply the rule of opposites. The rule of opposites is simply raking on the left side of your body for a specific amount of time and then switching to the right side of your body for that same length of time. Alternating your rakeautumn-1638473_640 rotation will help eliminate muscle fatigue which often leads to stress in the low back.
  3. Bend at the Knees: When picking up leaves, it is important to bend at the knees, NOT at the waist.
  4. Take Frequent Breaks: Micro-breaks (lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute) are a great way to give your body a quick rest. During your micro-break, incorporate some simple stretches. Once again, you will apply the rule of opposites to your stretches. For example, if you have been bending in a forward position, allow yourself a few seconds to bend backwards.
  5. Drink Plenty of Water: While working in the cool fall temperatures, we often forget to hydrate as frequently as we do in the hot summer months. A great way to determine your appropriate daily water intake is to take your body weight and divide it in half. That number is what you should be drinking in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water per day.
  6. Get Checked at an Imperium Chiropractic Clinic: Regular chiropractic care is crucial to health. If you are experiencing issues as a result of your fall cleanup or are looking to improve your overall health, we are here to help!

Click here for a web exclusive video on how to apply these techniques.

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