5 SIMPLE FALL (BACK) SAFETY TIPS
Fall is the season of pumpkin-everything, apple cider and football. But it’s also the start of tireless yard-work. In 2015, more than 300,000 people arrived at the emergency room due to yard and home maintenance-related injuries according to Consumer Product Safety Commission. Follow these 5 simple tips to keep you safe and pain-free to enjoy the rest of the season.
It’s important to dress for the activity and weather conditions. Yes, this means no loose clothing and unnecessary jewelry that can become caught in your equipment. You should try to wear supportive and non-slip foot wear to prevent slips and falls. Another great tip is to wear protective equipment, such as earplugs, eye protection and full-length clothing.
The chances of injury increase by using improper equipment and lack of experience with it. Read the owner’s manual before any operating machinery and tools. Also, opt-in for lighter equipment compared to its heavier version. For example, while raking leaves try using a plastic shovel rather than a metal shovel. This little tip will drastically reduce your chance of injury.
Raking leaves and other yard activities IS a form of exercise for which you should stretch. Stretching helps warm up and prepare your muscles for your activity. This will significantly reduce the chance of back strains and other related injuries. This stretch can be a simple 5- minute activity by performing knee to chest stretches and arm-across-body stretch. Before starting any new activity, please consult a health-care professional, such as a chiropractor or family physician.
Ever find yourself thinking, “Why does my back hurt?”. The cause is most likely your poor posture. You can take the stress of your back by keeping your neck relaxed, elbows bent at your side, back straight and having a shoulder-width stance. Using a short reach, when raking will help maintain a good posture. The most important tip for posture is for when you’re lifting the bag of leaves. Never fill the bag up with more than you can lift (Inside tip: only rake dry leaves!). When lifting the bag, lower your body into a squat, bring the bag close to your chest and lift through your legs.
Most common reason for injury is fatigue! Due to poor posture and technique. The leaves aren’t going anywhere, so take your time raking and performing other activities. Taking frequent breaks and listening to your body, will help you stay pain-free this season.
The five simple tips are great for preventing injury. But if you do find yourself in pain, get a consult from a chiropractor near you or ER (in the case of serious injury).