0 0 0
Tuesday Tip- Seasonal Safety Tips for the Fall Months

Tuesday Tip- Seasonal Safety Tips for the Fall Months

By: Steve Merema, PT, DPT, OCS- Clinic Director of Ogle County Physical Therapy

Steve Merema, PT, DPT, CKTPAs we approach Halloween and fall is in full swing, we try and finish our yard work in preparation for winter.  As Illinoisans we know that winter can rear its ugly at anytime (whether we are ready or not) so we rush to get our fall projects completed before winter greets us.  

Fall often sees us racking leaves, pulling weeds, digging in our gardens, and trimming bushes and trees.  These and other fall projects often have us performing activities our bodies are not used to and can leave us sore and achy.  Here are some things to consider while tackling fall activities to help you have a pain free winter:

1.  Use good mechanics.

Remember no matter what projects you are tackling around the house, in the garage or outside in the lawn, form is important. If you are working close to the ground, pulling weeds, digging up flowers, etc., find something soft to sit or kneel on instead of bending over repetitively or for long periods of time. This will save your knees and your back a lot of unnecessary stress. 

If you are digging with a shovel and not a spade make sure the loads of dirt you are moving are light.  Do not try to speed up your work by loading your shovel.  Heavy loads will require more force to move, making it more likely you will use the muscles in your back and not your arms and legs.  Moving smaller, lighter loads will prevent injury to your back.  Once you have your shovel full, minimize twisting at your back by turning your body.  This will further decrease your risk of having some back aches later.

2.  Use proper equipment and use it correctly. 

If you need to get up on a ladder make sure it is firmly planted directly in the immediate area you are working.  Reaching long distances on an unsteady ladder is the fastest way to fall and the quickest way to end up in an ambulance.  Do not stand on the higher rungs of the ladder if possible, as the closer you are to the top rung, the less stable you and the ladder become. 

If you are using sheers, trimmers or an edger keep that tool close to your body.  This can prevent back and shoulder injuries that occur with repetitive motions and/or excessive muscle use due to faulty mechanics.

3.  Take breaks. 

If your body is telling you to stop or slow down, there is a reason for that.  Step back, assess your technique and try to figure out what you can do to improve the way your working.  Often times modifying your strategy will make activities easier on your body and allow you to work longer. 

If modification does not reduce your discomfort, take 5 and come back to that activity.  “Pushing through” any discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that you are not working efficiently and will actually limit your ability to work for longer periods.  The more inefficiently we perform any activity, the more energy it costs our bodies to perform that activity.  Inefficiency leads to injury. 

As we continue to enjoy the fall weather, make sure you complete your fall projects as safely and efficiently as possible.  Remember the information above will help you to have a pain free winter.