When most patients think of back injuries, they think of sports injuries, car accidents, and work related injuries. However, you’d be surprised at how often we see patients who’ve injured in their backs doing yard work or home maintenance. Now is the time of year when everybody is most concerned about the aesthetics of their lawn. So naturally, this is around the time we start to see these home and yard maintenance injuries.
Believe It Or Not, Your Shoes Are Important!
Ensuring that you wear shoes that adequately support your ankle and arch is a vital part of injury prevention that many patients forget about. In fact, good shoes typically don’t get the credit they deserve in their ability to prevent potential sprains and strains. Also, these strains and sprains don’t just happen with a patient’s ankles; they can occur with their back too. This is a surprisingly common factor in yard maintenance injuries because many people wear their old shoes instead of “ruining their newer ones.”
Pay Attention to Your Posture
Posture is where a lot of patients injure their backs unknowingly! This is most important during activities like mowing and raking the yard. The key is to keep your back straight and to pay attention to areas that feel strained by your movements. If you feel a strain, notice the shape of your back and see if it subsides when your spine remains straight. Maintaining good posture is the overall most important part of preventing injury during home chores. (This advice goes for indoor chores like sweeping and vacuuming as well.)
If You Lift Heavy Things, Do It Right
Lifting heavy objects is another common cause of housework related injuries. The key is in your technique. First of all, don’t underestimate the item you are carrying. It is very common for people to grab a bag of leaves without proper technique because they’re “just leaves.” Leaves aren’t heavy, right? Wrong! A whole trash bag of leaves is actually quite a load to lift! So make sure no matter what you are picking up, that you do it correctly. The proper technique is to bend at your knees, not your waist when you are lifting. (And always always always keep your back straight!) Don’t lift anything that is too heavy and causes any strain on your body! Instead, use a wheel barrel, friend/spouse/child, dolly, or any other solution that will lessen your load to bare.
Always Properly Prepare Before You Start!
This may sound obvious, but it’s worth saying anyways! It is so important to prepare before doing extensive yard or home maintenance work, especially in the heat. The truth is, even if you did everything else right, not properly preparing for working around your home could leave you susceptible to back injuries as well as other risks to your health.
Never do yard work or home maintenance if you are not adequately hydrated! You will run the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, overheating, and a variety of other health hazards that could put you in much greater danger. It is also vital that you wear proper safety equipment for any machinery you may be operating. We also believe you should wear sunscreen as well. Yes, even on the cloudy days! You’d be surprised how much sun creeps through.
Don’t become a victim to spring yard work! With these simple tips, you should be set for a safe and productive season ahead. At Straight Up Chiropractic, we believe part of our job is to pass on chiropractic tips and related news to keep our patients informed. This is why we think it’s important to share some chiropractic tips to prevent injuring your spine during yard and home maintenance work! For more chiropractic tips or to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us today.