Yard-work & Bending Techniques

It’s that time of year again and you may have added leaf cleanup to your list of chores to do. Also, snow will be visiting us again soon, and you will have to be ready. Maybe you dread these chores because of your recurring back pain. Maybe in past years you’ve hurt your back doing leaf cleanup or snow shoveling and ended up with recurring pains. Or maybe you’ve had no problem with either of these chores in the past, but you want to avoid a possible injury to your back. Either way, in this post you will learn how to perform these activities while avoiding an injury or aggravation.

Both leaf cleanup and snow removal tend to be repetitive tasks involving frequent bending, twisting, and lifting. The difficulty of the lifting can vary drastically. Often the lifting involved is light, however a big bag full of leaves or a shovel full of wet snow can pose a greater lifting challenge. All of these activities provide equal opportunity to injure your back if you don’t carefully maintain proper posture and form throughout.

Helpful Tips To Avoid Injury When Doing Leaf Cleanup or Snow Removal

1-Warm up – Consider
leaf cleanup exercise. As with any exercise, you want to warm up for about 10 minutes first before moving forward into full activity. You can simply start with a walk before you begin. Another option is to start your cleanup slowly allowing your body to warm
up before picking up the pace.

2-Maintain good posture
– Whether you use a rake, a leaf blower, a mower, or other tool, you must maintain good posture to protect your spine. Head up and shoulders back. Avoid prolonged postures (such as looking down) without returning to your good, normal and balanced posture again.

Use your legs to perform a “mini-squat” when shoveling or bending to pick up leaves.

AVOID bending over using primarily your back. IMPROPER form demonstrated here:

3-Take breaks – Take a short break at least one or two times per hour. Consider some simple stretches or range-of motion exercises for your low back.

Back Extensions

Lateral Bends

Full Back Release – Seated Flexion

4-Bend correctly – When bending over to use a wheelbarrow, to pick up leaves, or to lift a bag, perform a correct squat.

5- Use the right tools- Leaf claws can help reduce bending. To completely avoid the repetitive task of raking and picking up leaves by hand, you may want to consider using a leaf blower and a mulching lawn mower. Using these two tools in combination allows you to clear your lawn and then easily mulch up and easily bag the leaves. Use of a sling to help bear the weight of a tool like a leaf blower can help greatly.

One Point Sling Used With Leaf Blower

When performing any physical task it is ideal to have your spine free of spinal misalignment’s. Taking great care of your spine and nervous system should be a top priority.

If you are currently suffering from back or neck pain or have a history of recurring pain, here are two things you can do right now to help:

#1. Get your spine checked for subluxations. Only chiropractors are highly trained to detect and correct spinal subluxations – spinal misalignment’s that interfere with the nervous system.

#2. Learn how to incorporate spinal stabilization exercises to your routine at least three times per week. The health of your spinal muscles will determine your ability to perform tasks like leaf cleanup properly. See this post for basic spinal stabilization exercises:

Core exercises to avoid recurring back pain

If you’d like to schedule a chiropractic examination or have any questions about good posture, how to bend correctly, back pain, adjustments, or spinal exercises, feel free to drop by the office or call us any time. We are here to serve and would be honored to speak with you and be a part of your ongoing journey to better natural health.

-Dr Ken Goldman