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Preventing Back Pains and Neck Issues

With fall upon us and winter looming, you may soon discover muscles you never knew you had. Raking leaves, clearing brush, shoveling snow and other yard work often means bending, lifting and other movements. Fast-paced yard work can stress muscles and joints, especially in your neck, back and hips and shoulders."Raking the lawn, and we all do it, is a particularly aggressive activity," "The more unfit a person is, the more likely he or she is to strain muscles or joints doing strenuous yard work."

"If aches and pains resolve in a few days, there should be nothing to worry about. But, if neck and/or back pain persist after one or two weeks, and they limit your ability to function normally, it's probably time to take a closer look. You may need treatment, and it's also likely you need to improve your fitness, especially core strength."Tips to Prevent Injuries
  • To prevent back and neck problems during yard work, "work with your head and not with your back.":
  • Have a plan for your work; pace yourself and don't try to do everything in one day, especially if you're not in the best shape.
  • Do a warm-up before doing physical work. Taking a 10-minute easy walk will help to increase your body warmth and circulation, making it easier to get into the swing of things.
  • Break up your work with short periods of rest, but stay warm.
  • Use proper body mechanics. Be "body aware." When lifting, check the weight of an item to make sure you can lift it confidently, avoid twisting when lifting, use a strong tummy and your legs and hold the object close to your body.
  • Improve your fitness. It's good for you anyway! Take up a balanced strengthening and cardiovascular exercise program. (If youhave questions or concerns about your ability to exercise safely, talk to your physician). Keeping the muscles in the back, chest, abdominal core, hip and upper legs strong can help prevent overuse injuries and make yard work less of a "chore."

NLBC Health and Wellness Ministry

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