Victoria Physio News
- Brought to you by Therapeutic Edge

Raking Leaves

POSTED: September 30, 2011

While raking can be a good way to enjoy moderate exercise, too much twisting, reaching, bending, lifting and carrying bags of leaves can place excessive loading on the spine, resulting in back strain or more serious injuries.

Before starting, Physiotherapists recommend:
Warm-up exercises for the larger muscle groups such as the shoulders, back and the legs before (and after) all yard work.
Well-fitting shoes with good soles will prevent slipping and give your back better support.

Hold the rake handle close to your body to help maintain good posture while raking. Keep one hand near the top for better leverage and use your arms and legs more than your spine. Ergonomic rakes, sold in garden centres across the country, have bent or side handles or handles that are padded for less strain on the hands and wrists. This design ensures that the elbows are bent slightly and also encourages good posture;
Change sides frequently and avoid twisting from the waist. When raking, the tendency is to plant the feet in a fixed position and rake in several directions from that position. Instead, place one foot ahead of the other which allows you to shift forward and backward easily as you rake;
Take frequent breaks and/or change to a different activity.

When bagging leaves, lift manageable loads. Keep your back straight and use your legs to do the lifting. If you have to stoop, face the pile of leaves and donít twist as you lift;
Donít try to overreach to get those last few leaves;
When lifting the bag of leaves, tense your stomach muscles to give your back additional support and keep the bag close to the body.

Keep your back straight while lifting with the legs;
Donít pile too many leaves into one bag, especially if they are wet. It will be heavy and awkward to lift;
When finished for the day, take a few moments to cool down by doing the same exercises performed prior to raking.

Back To School : Choosing The Right Backpack

POSTED: September 12, 2011

Choosing a Backpack for Back to School

Itís time to head back to school and everyone is busy buying pencils, geometry sets and what seems like the 15th pocket sized dictionary in the last 10 years. (Where do they all go anyway? ) We here at Therapeutic Edge Physiotherapy in Victoria would like to share another Edge Tip with you regarding that ever so essential back to school item: The Backpack.

Backpacks are the workhorse of the student population. They get dragged around, sat on, used as goal posts and carried back and forth every day. Over the course of the year, the bottom can become a never emptied, rummage around till you find it layer that may serve only to add weight, not functionality.

Here are a few simple guidelines to think about when choosing a backpack.

-not oversized to carry more!
-pack should sit evenly in the middle of the back (no sag towards the "rear")

-find a lightweight backpack that won't contribute to the overall weight significantly when loaded.
-a loaded backpack should not weight more than 10-15% of your child's body weight

Padded Back and Straps
-to help reduce pressure on the chest/shoulders and prevents items from digging to your child's back

Backpack Tips:
Loading your Backpack: Teach your child to load heavier items (text books) closer to the back keeping the load closer to their centre of gravity. This prevents strain on the back and improves efficiency of core tummy muscles.

Posture: STAND TALL! with your head and neck in line with your shoulders, keep tummy muscles engaged and use both shoulder straps to help evenly distribute the weight of the pack.

Things to Watch Out For:
- Red marks on the shoulders
- Tingling in arms and hands
- Pain in low back

**Encourage your child to tell you if they have aches and pains. Physiotherapists can help your child before it becomes a more serious injury and to teach then how to engage tummy and back muscles for proper posture.

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