Clinique Chiropratique du Pontiac

THE GREAT AUTUMN BALL

The cold weather is upon us, the leaves are falling and the kids are already talking about Santa Claus; many of us will take this opportunity to officially say goodbye to summer. And while work is being done inside and outside the house, our neuro-musculo-skeletal system is taking its toll. Welcoming the cold season is no easy task! Unless you know how to protect yourself, you’re bound to suffer injuries.

DO EVERYTHING IN A HURRY
You don’t prepare for the first snow by sitting quietly on the couch. You’ve got to get busy, lift, drop, carry, move, tidy up, scrub, fill and so on. We’re on the move! Too little care in movement can injure the spine and lead to complications such as lumbar pain, hernias or torticollis, which occur not only after a false move, but also when we’re in a hurry to do everything. A word of advice: get a few weeks’ head start, and don’t try to get everything done in the space of a single Sunday afternoon.

DO THE MOST FREQUENT TASKS WELL

1. Raking leaves…
Raking leaves is an excellent physical activity, often demanding on the body. To avoid injury, first choose the right tool. Opt for a rake with a handle long enough to avoid working too bent over. To minimize the strain on your arms and make work easier, a rake with flexible, fan-shaped blades is ideal. Finally, to reduce the strain on your back, place one leg in front of the other, alternating them occasionally. Ideally, don’t rake after it’s rained, as the heavier leaves increase the difficulty of the activity. And above all, avoid twisting!

2. …and pick them up!
The luckiest among us will use their lawnmower to collect the leaves, adjusting the levers to the appropriate height. The others should ideally do this job in pairs, one holding the bag at hip height, the other making sure to keep his back straight and bend his knees each time he returns to the ground.

3. String the wood
Bending your knees without bending your back is doubly recommended if you have to string wood. Coordinate your movements, and always keep the load of wood close to your body as you move. Avoid “lazy trips”. Several light trips are better than a few heavy ones. Use a wheeled cart, if you can. You’ll save both time and energy.

4. Close the garden
Working in the garden more often than not requires squatting on the ground. Reduce the strain by using a knee cushion. Keep your back straight and take frequent breaks. Stand up regularly to relax your leg muscles and joints, and work progressively.

5. Move heavy objects without injury
Autumn is also the time to put away the hoses, close the pool, store the BBQ and set up the snow shelter. These activities may require you to lift loads and move heavier objects. It’s important to follow the basic rules for lifting these loads with care. First, approach the object and place your feet at the same width as your shoulders. Your feet and head should point in the direction of the object to be lifted. With knees bent and back straight, use your leg and arm muscles to lift the load while keeping it close to your body. To lower the load, bend your knees first, then control its descent.

6. Take out your winter clothes
If your winter clothes are stored on a raised shelf, reach for them using a ladder
ladder rather than stretching. Don’t put away your summer laundry box by lifting the load above your waist.
lifting the load above your waist. Use the ladder and, if necessary, ask someone
help.

SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE

Whatever the task, never exceed your arm’s length in your movements. Whether you’re pruning trees, raking leaves or cleaning the outside walls of your home, always observe this rule. Stretching beyond this limit is automatically asking too much of your spine. In the long term, you’ll gain nothing and risk an unfortunate injury. Instead, opt for teamwork.
Don’t forget to warm up before you get down to work, and stretch your muscles and joints when you’re done.
Did you get out your gloves and scarves to work outside? That doesn’t prevent dehydration! Always keep a bottle of water nearby, and drink every quarter of an hour.

Source:
Quebec Chiropractors Association
Canadian Chiropractic Association