Don’t Make the “Rake Mistake”

Raking leaves can be bad for your back. Take care this fall.

Once again, it is that time of year when millions of Canadians will make that adventurous trek to their yards to do battle and rake away dead grass, leaves, and branches. Raking is a harmful form of exercise that often leads to preventable spinal subluxations and inherent nerve interference, which, as you should know by now, diminishes your body’s ability to function and heal.

Endless hours of raking causes unsymmetrical use of your back muscles. Follow this up with unadvised bending at the waist to pick up piles of debris and we have a recipe for disaster. The eventual outcome is unsymmetrical tight musculature, which pulls your spine out of alignment causing life deteriorating subluxations. And that my friends, is the “Rake Mistake”.

Here are my 5 tips to prevent the “Rake Mistake”:

1- Alternate sides you are raking from. Rake from the left. Then switch to the right.

2- Bend with your knees; not your back to prevent you from getting out of whack.

3- Take a stretch breaks every 10-15 minutes. Slowly reach for the ground, flexing forward at the hips. Use your hands on your thighs to push yourself back up if you need to.

4- When you are done raking, put some ice on tired muscles for 15-20 minutes to flush out any lactic acid build-up from overuse.

5- Delegate to your children, or a friend you don’t like. : ) Just kidding.

What seems like such basic tips can really have a profound effect on your overall health, even though we don’t realize it. The physical stresses produced from raking cause subluxations. The resulting nerve interference in the low back can affect many pelvic, abdominal organs and your legs. You probably would never think to link the possible cause of prostate or uterine cancer to a muscle strain while raking 15 years earlier.

Oh… and it might be smart to get a chiropractic adjustment after you are done raking to realign your spine and remove any detrimental nerve pressure. [wink wink]

Raking from both sides,

Dr. Rob