Oh, my raking back. How to rake without backlash
Raking leaves is a necessary evil of home ownership in New England. While raking your yard can take a few hours, the soreness our back, neck, legs and arms can last much longer. Without taking the proper precautions—like stretching--raking can even lead to injury.
“You wouldn’t think to go for a run or bike ride without stretching, especially in the cooler fall weather. Yet people head outside to rake without doing more than reaching up in their closet for a sweatshirt,” said Dr. Michael Gottfried, president of the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and chiropractic physician at Aquidneck Chiropractic in Middletown, Rhode Island. “Raking leaves really should be treated like any other workout. To prevent soreness and injury, you have to stretch.”
Dr. Gottfried recommends 10 to 15 minutes of stretching before and during the course of your raking session. That stretching could include knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked. You also may want to take a short walk before or during to stimulate circulation. When finished with the yard work, repeat the stretching exercises.
Dr. Gottfried also cites posture as a key to avoiding soreness or injury during yard work. While raking, stand as tall and straight as possible and use a "scissors" stance: right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back. Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up piles of leaves. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
“Of course, you will want to drink lots of water to remain hydrated and wear supportive shoes as good foot and arch support can stop some of the strain from affecting your back,” said Dr. Gottfried. “If you do feel soreness or stiffness in your back after raking, use ice to soothe the discomfort. If there's no improvement in two or three days, see your local chiropractor.”
If you are not currently seeing a chiropractor, you can utilize the “Find A Doctor” feature on the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island’s website, www.richiro.org.
About Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI)
Founded in 1918, CSRI is one of the oldest chiropractic associations in the United States and represents more than 25 percent of the chiropractic physicians in the Ocean State. In addition to providing a regional voice for chiropractors in the business and legislative arenas, CSRI also helps educate the general public on the benefits of chiropractic. Those all-natural benefits can include relief from headaches, asthma, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, colic, and stress, just to name a few. Olympic ski champion Picabo Street, NFL legend Jerry Rice and Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman are but a few notable celebrities who have embraced chiropractic.
The Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island is located at 1272 West Main Road, Building 2, Middletown, RI 02842. For more information, call (401) 207-0700 or visit www.RIchiro.org.