Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rake Safe!!!

Rake Safe!!!!

Fall is a beautiful time in Middle Tennessee. Along with these beautiful sites, comes leaf raking. It is a great activity to get outside and possibly mingle with the neighbors. Biomechanically speaking however, it can be very dangerous for the spine. Flexion (bending at the waist) and rotation (turning) are the worst motions for the disks between the vertebrae. These are the two motions coupled when raking. The nice rain that we are experiencing recently adds weight to the leaves and makes such a motion even more dangerous. Are we saying to upset your neighbors and let your leaves become their problem? Absolutely not!!! Get outside and enjoy the fall, simply remember a few things to make this experience safer and a little more enjoyable.

  • Rake in small piles - This limits the weight and therefore the resistance when bending and twisting.
  • Pull the leaves toward you - Rather than standing sideways and twisting repetitively, rake from in front of you directly back toward your feet, limiting rotation
  • Hold the end of the rake - This limits flexion or bending
  • Take your time and take a break
  • Bend your knees when picking up the piles - Use your leg strength to pick up the leaves rather than bending from the hips and putting extra forces on the spine.
  • Take a walk afterward - Limiting all bending and twisting is nearly impossible. Following your raking session, go for a short walk (1/2 mi) This pumps fluid with vital healing properties in and out of the disks, helping to offset the recent forces placed on the spine.
  • Finally, if all of the above fail and you find yourself in pain, give us a call. We will have you back up and on your feet in no time. Fall is no time to be down, there are too many fun family activities to enjoy.
Remember Prevention is always easier than Repair!!!!

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