Tanya Newman & Associates Osteopathy

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By Chislehurst Osteo, Nov 22 2015 01:01PM

It is that time of year when the garden is covered with the beautiful colours of the fallen leaves. However within a few days we all know we have to go out into the garden and start to clear them up so that the ground is not too slippery and to hopefully put into containers to create leaf mulch for later benefit to your plot.

The job of raking and picking up the leaves can leave your back aching so I thought it would be good to offer a few tips to protect yourself when you are doing these jobs.

When raking make sure that you move your feet as you rake. We tend to stand still and twist from the hips and our low backs which puts a lot of strain through this area. If we place our feet one slightly in front of the other and rock from foot to foot this reduces the pressure on our low backs.

Make sure that your rake has a long enough handle that you are not leaning down too much as the position of being half bent leaves our backs vulnerable.

If some leaves are stubborn and won’t move easily be careful about putting too much pressure through the rake to try to move them as this is another opportunity for strain. Try changing the angle from which you are raking – moving your feet again!

When you need to pick up the leaves bend your knees – and have a low basket or bag to collect them which is very close to you so that there is no reaching for the container. If need be have a chair or a stool near to you to help you back up after you have finished.

Take regular breaks – if there are lots of leaves don’t try to do them all in one session as a short break mid-way through the job may well reduce the aching when you are done.

If your back aches afterwards try some warmth on it – maybe a hot water bottle or a hot wheat bag or even a hot bath, but do keep moving regularly and if you have been taught stretches for your back do them after you have done your work in the garden.

If you really hurt yourself seek some treatment – don’t leave it thinking “It will get better” as this is not always the case!

Happy Gardening

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