How to Not “Rake” your back this year…

I am not a pain-based chiropractor, in fact, my true passion is helping to raise healthy kids rather than fix broken adults. That being said, here are some words of advice so that you don’t find yourself in my office or anywhere else for that matter as you gather the millions of leaves deposited on your lawn from your neighbours tree.

1. Avoid the bend and twist.

The majority of low back injuries result from the same action, bending forward and twisting. To make it even easier to ruin your back, make sure you use a jerking motion at the same time. So, as you are raking leaves, you can imagine that by over reaching with your rake, you would put yourself at considerate risk for a low back injury. Watch the raking but also watch how you are bagging the leaves afterwards.

Bend those knees, and don’t over-reach! Use smaller swipes and stand with good posture. If you have to take a long reach for those hard to reach places, keep your low back in extension and brace your core (as if someone was about to punch your tummy).

2. A proper rake

There are some pretty cool gadgets out there but I only have two suggestions. One, choose a rake that “gives”, meaning, if you’re raking and you hit a snag, like a root, you want a rake that will release it easy so you don’t put your back at risk with any jerking motions. Thin metal claws work well, the thick plastic ones can be stubborn to let go of snags.

I am also impressed by the rake that you can use to pick up leaves. The rake bends in half and allows you to pick up leaves, which lessens the risk of injury as you bag.

3. The Pick-Up and bagging

The least fun part about raking leaves, obviously jumping in the piles is, but I digress. Do yourself a favor and use a bag holder. It costs less than a visit to the chiropractor and will serve you for many years. It can be a lot of awkward holding and lifting when you don’t and that means you’re putting yourself at risk!

Thanks for reading and take these to heart, otherwise I will see you soon!

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