Typical fall cleanup tasks, including raking, pruning and cleaning gutters can cause back pain, muscle strain, repetitive motion injuries, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as other injuries and accidents. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately 42 million people seek emergency room treatment for yard work-related injuries each year. At Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center, we know using leaf blowers, ladders, mowers and rakes can potentially cause pain and injury.
To prevent this, follow these seven safety tips before starting your autumn cleanup:
1. Stretch and Hydrate
Walk and stretch before you start cleaning. This helps prevent your shoulders, neck and back from getting strained. When you’re finished, perform gentle stretches to relieve muscle tension. Don’t exert yourself too much and drink water to stay hydrated.
2. Dress for the Weather
It is important to dress for the weather. Lightweight, natural fibers provide warmth without trapping sweat, and long-sleeved shirts and long pants protect skin from bugs, scratches and sun exposure. To prevent injury to your feet and to minimize the risk of falling, wear closed-toed shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
3. Wear Protective Gear
If raking or using a blower to remove leaves, wear safety glasses to keep your eyes protected from flying dirt and debris. If it’s chilly, consider wearing earmuffs to prevent sickness. If using a chainsaw, make sure to wear a hard hat and a steel mesh face visor.
4. Purchase Good Equipment
When purchasing equipment, don’t just go for the cheapest find. Instead, buy a rake that is comfortable to you, and look for ergonomic handles to prevent blisters. If the rake handle is not padded, wear gloves.
5. Be Mindful of Your Posture
Avoid solely using your dominant arm when doing yard work and make sure to switch arms often so you’ll work the muscles on both sides of your body equally. This will prevent overworking and straining certain muscle groups. When picking items up, bend at your knees, not your waist to prevent back injury.
6. Dispose of Leaves Smartly
Do not overfill leaf bags, and remember wet leaves can be heavy. To avoid injury, you should be able to handle bags comfortably, without straining yourself.
7. Carefully Climb Ladders
If using a ladder to remove leaves from your gutters, make sure it’s sturdy with no loose hinges, rungs or screws. Place it on a firm, level surface and ensure it’s fully open and locked. When climbing, wear shoes with nonslip soles and ask someone to hold the ladder in place. Always face toward it when climbing and descending, and never sit or stand above the level indicated by the manufacturer.
Why Choose Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center
Once you’re done with your fall cleanup, you may need a massage from Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center to work out any sore muscles. Our massage therapists offer a variety of massage services. Click here to schedule an appointment today!