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As the air turns cooler, we get to enjoy turning leaves and crisp blue skies. Fall is a fantastic time of year for adults and kids alike. However, when it comes to leaves, depending on what help you have, you may end up doing most of the raking and bagging. If this is the case, you need to take care of yourself. Many people end up injuring themselves while raking. They aren’t used to that level of activity, and as a result, their unprepared joints get hurt – especially their backs. At the Spine Institute of North America, we have found that raking not only exacerbates current back conditions, it can produce new ones. That is why we are taking the time to share some important tips for raking safely!

In our last blog, we discussed the value of keeping tabs on your posture, wearing comfortable shoes, switching hands, and staying hydrated. Today, we have some more tips for you!

Bend at your knees

We’ve all been told to lift loads with our legs, not our backs. This is important advice. Lifting heavy loads incorrectly is one of the most common ways backs get injured. You can protect your back by keeping it straight when you reach down. Get your lifting power from your legs – they’re stronger, anyway! We also recommend you make the piles smaller to prevent them from getting too heavy. Leaves aren’t the heaviest things in the world, but when you get enough of them together, they can be a significant burden.

Try using a tarp

Do you bring the bin to the leaves or the other way around? If you have a tarp, you can collect the leaves on it and drag the leaves where you need them. This will reduce the need to drag an increasingly heavy bin around to different piles.

Use the wind to your advantage

If you’re raking on a gusty day, don’t fight the wind. Instead, rake in the same direction and let the wind help you out. Even if the wind is blowing the leaves away from their destination, let the wind help you gather leaves in a tarp. You can contain them and drag them where you need them.

Take breaks

Depending on the amount of leaves you have to rake, it may be unwise to push yourself straight through. If you’re tackling a large yard or multiple trees’ worth of leaves, we recommend you take the time to pause and refresh. This will allow your muscles to replenish and be ready to go again.

This fall, make sure you enjoy it to the fullest with our safety tips! If you find yourself struggling with back pain that won’t go away, we are here to help. We work hard every day to stay on the cutting edge of back treatment, and we can provide you with tailored solutions like minimally invasive spine surgery to bring relief and get you moving again. Don’t let back pain slow you down. Get the Spine Institute of North America in your corner; we’re here to help. Learn more today!