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It’s Time to Rake Leaves!
An article that discusses the potential injuries that raking leaves can cause and ways to prevent them
It is very surprising how many people end up calling the office early Monday mornings because of the acute low back pain they have earned while raking. This is usually due to raking in the incorrect posture for too long at one time. The weight of the leaves or needles is not usually the culprit. The most common cause of the low back pain is the repetitive twisting motion that many people do as they pull the rake towards themselves. Our backs are not designed to handle repetitive twisting motions, especially if lifting is involved.
Commonly, you don’t even notice the pain while raking. It often builds up during the night when your back is no longer moving. During this time, the inflammation or swelling accumulates and the joints become stiffened. You then jump out of bed thinking your raked your whole yard and got off pain free when the acute muscle spasm and pain hits you. You might even have a sharp pain that may or may not travel down to the leg or buttocks.
The best treatment for this condition is to restore normal joint movement of the area and keep it that way long enough for it to heal. Chiropractors receive good results in my office by doing adjustments of the effected joints to restore their mobility. By having good mobility in the swollen and sore joints, the swelling can be flushed out, the circulation inside the joint is improved, and the joints heal much faster with less pain. It is important that people understand that only your body will heal the injury and that the chiropractor is just making that system work more efficiently and at a faster rate. Applying ice packs or even frozen peas for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, two to three times per day, will help decrease the swelling around the nerves and joints. In the unfortunate event that something more serious has occurred, such as a herniated disk, the chiropractor is trained to identify and conservatively treat it. If conservative therapy will not work, the appropriate referral to a specialist can be made. This is usually done in conjunction with your medical doctor.
Of course, the best cure for low back pain is prevention. When you are raking, keep your back straight and pull the rake directly towards your body. Do not pull the rake to your side, as this will automatically encourage your back to twist. It is also important to not try to rake the entire yard in one day. Spread the job out over a few days. Some may laugh at this, but it is recommended that you actually warm up and stretch before starting to rake. Go for a light ten-minute walk and do a few repetitions of stretching for the low back before starting. Lastly, an emerging trend in the leaf extraction business is with leaf blowers. Leaf blowers help decrease the amount of bending over and twisting that you would normally have to perform and even speed up the process. Regardless of which method you take, it’s time to get started! Leaf removal starts November 1!
If you have any questions about back pain or a topic for my next blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website, http://www.landrumdc.com
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Dr. Brad Landrum is a chiropractor at Landrum Spine and Sport Chiropractic, located in Hopkinsville, Ky 42240. His comprehensive, manual care clinics offer innovative soft-tissue treatments, research-based rehabilitation protocols and manipulative techniques to restore proper biomechanics.
Page Updated Last on: Oct 28, 2010