Tackling Your Yard This Fall – September 2002

Taking Control of Your Health

The Stern Chiropractic Newsletter

Referral Corner:
The Greatest Compliment my Patients Can Give is the Referral of Their Friends and Loved Ones. Thank You For Your Trust. This month, I would like to thank the following people for their trust: The Hart Family, The Opper Family, The Chalfie Family, Sue Massarachia and Sheryl Rudy.

Charity Corner:
Stern Chiropractic is collecting donations for Lamb’s Farm. A matching contribution will be made by Stern Chiropractic (certain restrictions apply). Please join me in supporting this wonderful cause.


Weekend Warriors Beware! Before you rev up the lawnmower or reach for your rake this fall, consider the possible consequences: Upper- or lower back strain, neck strain or pain in the shoulders. The twisting, turning, bending and reaching that go into mowing and raking may injure you if your body is not prepared. Similarly, the repetitive motion that your body undergoes when using weed trimmers, leaf blowers and hedge clippers can bring on a whole host of mechanical problems within your body. Like in sports, if you leap into something without warming up or knowing how to do it, the chances of injury are greater.

What Can You Do?

Stretching Tips

– Be sure to include a warm-up/cool-down period that involves stretching to help avoid injuries.


– Before stretching, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

· Breathe in and out slowly and rhythmically

· Do not bounce or jerk your body

· Stretch as far and as comfortably as you can

· Do not follow the no pain, no gain rule. Stretching should not be painful.


– Do stretching exercises for a total of 10-15 minutes spread over the course of your work, which can include the following:

· Knee-to-chest pulls

· Trunk rotations

· Weave your fingers together palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the side of your upper body, then reverse. Repeat two or three times per side

· Hamstring stretches – either standing or sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the tight. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this 3 times and then repeat with other leg.

· Quadricep Stretches – Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold for 15 seconds. Do this two to three times per side.

· Calf Stretches – Facing a wall, place your palms on the wall and place one foot back with the leg straight while the front leg is bent. Keep the back heel on the ground and lean forward into the wall. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch the position of the legs and repeat two to three times per leg.

· “Hug your best friend” – Wrap your arms around yourself after letting your breath out and rotate to one side as far as you can go. Hold it for 10 seconds. Then reverse. Repeat two or three times per side.


– Take a short walk to stimulate circulation. When finished with the yard work, repeat the stretching exercises


When Using Outdoor Equipment

– Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you rake or mow.

-Use the straps that come with the equipment. Place the strap over your head on the shoulder on the opposite side of your body from the device. This will help normalize your center of gravity.

– Be sure to switch the side on which you are operating the equipment as often as possible and to balance the muscles being used, alternate your stance and motion frequently.

– Take frequent breaks from the activity of the day to avoid fatigue.

– Consider electric-powered items, especially if you experience back or neck pain, as they tend to be much lighter than their engine-powered counterparts.


Additional Tips

– When it’s still warm outside, avoid the heat. Either do the work before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

– When raking, use a “scissors” stance: right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.

– Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up piles of leaves or grass. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.

– When moving, use your whole bodyweight to push the mower, rather than just your arms and back.

– If your mower has a pull cord, don’t twist at the waist or yank the cord. Instead, bend at the knees and pull in one smooth motion.

– Drink lots of water; wear a hat, shoes and protective glasses. To avoid blisters, try wearing gloves. If your equipment is loud, wear hearing protection. If you have asthma or allergies, wear a mask.

– Try ergonomic tools too. They are engineered to protect you when used properly.


Note: If you do feel soreness or stiffness, use ice to soothe the discomfort. If there is no improvement in two to three days, call me and make an appointment.


Stern Chiropractic is offering a FREE Stretching Clinic on Saturday 9/20 at 10:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required. Call today to reserve your spot, Limited spaces available.

Products of the Month : Lumbar Support Belts

This high quality yet affordable orthopedic support belt will provide that extra support you need while you tackle your yard this fall or shovel your driveway this winter. This belt is designed for maximum support with semi-flexible metal supports and it is easy to put on or take off with Velcro closure and Velcro tightening straps.

I hope this information helps you take control of your health and your life! If you have any questions, feedback or have any suggestions for future topics, please call or email me.

If you know someone who would be interested in receiving this newsletter, if you would like to receive this newsletter via email, or if you would prefer to no longer receive this newsletter, please let me know.

Don’t forget the importance of maintaining your health with regular chiropractic and acupuncture care.


Gregg Stern, D.C., FICPA