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Here’s How To Avoid a Backache the Next Time You Rake

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Check your posture when you rake As you head out to rake your leaves this month, chances are the last thing you’ll be thinking about is your posture.

It’s hard to believe, but an hour or so spent tidying your lawn can have long-term consequences if your body isn’t accustomed to the activity.

Ajax Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera and the massage therapists at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage have helped numerous patients overcome injuries, many of which have occurred while working around the home.

“Although raking may seem like an easy task, it’s actually an intense physical activity,” says Dr. Noble. “To avoid injury, it’s important to make sure you’re performing this task correctly.”

Follow these tips and avoid a backache next time you rake.

Pick the right tool for the job
Is your rake the correct length for your height? Ideally, your rake should be about chin high. If it is too tall or too short, this could lead to improper reaching or bending and potential injury.

Get your body moving before the raking begins
Before you grab the rake, spend five to 10 minutes doing a variety of whole body stretches. These can include a basic hamstring stretch, shoulder, wrist and side stretches. For a full list of stretches, click here. Do each of the exercises five times, holding each for 15 seconds. Be sure not to bounce, jerk or strain. It should be a gentle stretch, not a pain.

Ensure proper raking posture

Once you’ve warmed up, keep your back straight while raking and avoid repetitive motions by switching arms and pulling in different directions. This allows you to work out different parts of your body equally.

Remember to bend at the knees when lifting

Whether you’re moving a planter across the deck or lifting a bag of leaves, remember to bend at your knees, not at your waist, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. As you’re lifting, tighten your abs, straighten your knees and keep your back straight. For turning, you should avoid twisting at the waist by moving your feet instead.

Take frequent breaks
Every 20 minutes or so, pause for a few minutes to catch your breath and stay hydrated. Check your posture and perform a few stretches to ensure that you are maintaining flexibility throughout raking.

Want to learn more about how to prevent neck and back pain while you rake? Book an appointment with our Pickering massage therapists and chiropractic team at 905-427-3202.

Four Easy Stretches to Avoid Injury on the Golf Course

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Four Easy Stretches to Avoid Injury on the Golf Course Pickering Village Chiropractic & MassageIt’s a beautiful day and you’re excited to get on the course. Don’t underestimate the strain and effort required to play golf. To avoid injury, be sure to spend a least five minutes stretching before you start swinging!

Here are a few quick and easy golf stretches to help you get in the game without the pain.

hip flexor golf lunge

Hip Flexor Lunge

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step one foot forward into a lunge position. Keep your body upright and back straight.
  • Bend both knees so that you feel the stretch.
  • Do not let your forward knee pass over the ankle of your front foot.
  • Use a golf club to keep your balance.
  • Hold 15 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.

seated twist golf stretch

Seated Twist

  • Sit on a bench or golf cart with your knees together and feet flat, pointing forward.
  • Reach across the front of your body and grasp the back of the bench or cart.
  • You should experience a stretch in your spinal muscles.
  • Hold 15 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.

seated forward bend golf stretch

Seated Forward Bend

  • Sit on a bench or golf cart, knees bent and feet flat.
  • Place one ankle onto your opposite knee, and relax this leg so that your knee falls out to the side.
  • Slowly bend forward, keeping your back straight.
  • You may gently pull on your bent knee to generate a deeper stretch.
  • You should feel a stretch in your buttock area.
  • Hold 15 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.

side bending golf stretchSide Bending Stretch

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the golf club above your head with your arms straight.
  • Slowly bend to one side, without rotating, until you feel a stretch along the side of your back.
  • Hold 15 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.

 

 

For a full list of golf stretches, click here.

Suffering from back or neck pain from golfing? Book a chiropractic consultation or massage therapy appointment at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage by calling 905-427-3202.

 

With files from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.

Shovelling Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain: Remember to Lift Light and Shovel Right

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Just because we’re Canadians doesn’t mean we’re experts when it comes to shovelling snow.

Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shovelling is often to blame.

But shovelling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:

Before You Start:

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
  • Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

All Set to Go

Push, don’t throw.

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

Bend your knees.

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

Watch for ice.

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.

Source: Ontario Chiropractic Association