How to avoid an aching back while raking leaves

The fall months bring a slightly cooler climate and unparalleled beauty as the leaves turn from green to hues of red, orange and yellow. The changing leaves are a sight to see with their radiant colors of splendor, but they also bring the obligation of raking the lawn.

Leaf raking is one of the more common fall activities that can land your back in bad shape. You may find yourself with a herniated disc. Read up on these back-friendly raking tips to keep your spine from aching:

Dress appropriately. The first step to proper leaf raking is to make sure that you are wearing the appropriate attire. Dress in layers so that when you get warm, you can easily eliminate a piece of clothing. You should also make sure that you are wearing a good pair of tennis shoes to protect your feet.

Don’t forget to stretch. Because raking leaves will work your body, you need to stretch before you start. Make sure to stretch your arms, legs and back. Stretching will help keep your muscles loose and limber throughout the raking process. It is just as important to stretch after you finish raking leaves to avoid sore or tight muscles.

Check your posture. It’s easy to hunch your back while raking leaves. However, this puts undue pressure on your spine, which may leave your back strained. Try to keep your back in alignment while you are raking leaves. If you notice that your back is starting to feel tense, take a break and stretch.

Tame your twisting. Raking leaves encourages the action of planting your feet in one spot and twisting from the waist to reach the surrounding areas. This action is bad for your low back. Instead of twisting from the waist, rotate your feet and hips to reach a wider space.

Take it slow. Instead of powering through your raking obligation, take your time. Rake for 10 to 15 minutes and then take a short break. During your breaks, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Stay hydrated because even though it’s chilly, you are still sweating and losing moisture.

Lift correctly. Sometimes, we tend to load up the rake with leaves to place it in a trash bag. Make sure you are aware of how much weight is at the end of the rake when doing this. Too much added weight can put unneeded strain on your spine and potentially cause a herniated disc.

If you put these tips into practice, your chances for making it through the fall season sans a herniated disc will increase. If you think that you have injured your back, consult your physician. He or she will be able to guide you to find relief from your back pain.


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