Yard Work Part 1
Tis the season for yard work! Dr. Becerra lives on property, so the term “yard work” is really a joke around the house, since we don’t have a “yard”, but vast, steep, land that Cal Fire is wanting us to clear. Backing up to the Cleveland National Forest is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you! This year they’d like a 100 foot clearance of the land, from each structure. And there are three structures. That’s a lot of clearing! Now whether you live in a neighborhood or on property, there’s always maintenance to do and yard work, let’s face it, is always a lot of work!
The state-of-the-art equipment available today for lawn and leaf management can help turn the average homeowner into a lawn specialist overnight. But the use of weed trimmers, leaf blowers and hedge clippers has also been sending many aspiring landscapers to the office of their local doctor of chiropractic. If you’re like us and you have a 200 foot driveway, your back and shoulders could be done in by the time you’re done cleaning up!
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) warns that using this equipment can result in back and neck pain, as well as more serious muscular strains and tears if not used properly.
“The repetitive motion that your body undergoes when using such equipment can bring on a whole host of mechanical problems within the body,” says ACA President Dr. Richard Brassard. “It is essential to operate your equipment properly. If you do not, the pounding your body endures may be multiplied.”
Tips On Safely Using Your Outdoor Equipment
Dr. Brassard offers the following tips to help you safely enjoy a productive day in the yard:
- Regardless of what piece of equipment you are using, make sure it has a strap-and that you use it. Place the strap over your head on the shoulder on the opposite side of your body from the device. This will help normalize your center of gravity.
- Be sure to switch the side on which you are operating the equipment as often as possible, and to balance the muscles being used, alternate your stance and motion frequently.
- Take frequent breaks from the activity of the day. Muscle fatigue may be felt when using any of these devices for an extended period of time.
- Consider electric-powered items, especially if you experience back or neck pain, as they tend to be much lighter than their engine-powered counterparts.
- When picking up or putting down your equipment, be sure to bend from the knees, not at the waist. Keep the object close to your body as you lift, not at arm’s length.
“While it is critical that you operate your yard equipment safely, it is equally important that you prepare your body for the work you are about to do,” explains Dr. Brassard. “Be sure to include a warm-up/cool-down period that involves stretching to help avoid injury.”