The fall is a wonderful time of year. But fall yard work such as raking leaves, cleaning out gutters, pruning shrubs, cleaning windows and putting up holiday decorations can make it a hazardous time! According to the CDC, around 42 million people seek emergency room treatment for yard-work related injuries each year.
That doesn’t include the many people that injure themselves and don’t end up in the emergency room. We are seeing a number of musculoskeletal injuries including back strain and shoulder pain as well as repetitive strain injuries, tendinitis and carpel tunnel syndrome. Here are some of the top injury-causing fall jobs:
Raking leaves and mulching
Both raking and mulching involves a range of different movements including bending, twisting and lifting. When raking or mulching, try to not hunch but bend with a straighter back. Also try to bend and then straighten frequently so that you are not stuck in a bent over position for prolonged periods of time.
When moving bags of mulch, collecting piles leaves, or putting away outdoor furniture, you must always remember to lift with proper technique. This means lifting with your legs, engaging your core, and keeping a straight back.
If you feel pain or twinging when you stand up straight then you are bending your spine unnaturally. Either try to correct your posture or continue at a later date. The worst thing you can do is continue and ignore the twinges.
Jobs using a ladder
We see a number of injuries related to the use of ladders, and not just from cleaning out gutters. This time of year you may also be giving your windows a clean or hanging up holiday decorations. The two most common ladder injuries are falls and strains. When it comes to falls, there are many things you can do, from ensuring you are wearing the right footwear, to checking the positioning of your ladder to having someone spot you.
Strains typically happen from over-reaching while on the ladder. This can be from trying to use a ladder that is too short and stretching up for periods of time, or from stretching to the side because it seems easier at the time than moving the ladder along a foot or two.
Prep and stretch
Before you being any yard-work make sure that you are wearing the right clothes for the job and weather. Bring a bottle of water out with you in order to keep hydrated.
Stretching is key before undertaking any physical activity whether it’s raking or hanging decorations. Even if you are physically fit you are going to be moving your body in a way it’s probably not used to. Taking the time to stretch will help towards preventing injury.
Come see us!
Back pain is no fun, and it prevents you from enjoying life and getting work done. If you feel a sudden twinge in your back, or simply want a check-up for your spinal health, please come see us!