Avoiding muscle injuries this fall

Red rake next to pile of leaves. As we are officially into the fall season we have to ask ourselves if are bodies are prepared to complete the tasks outside. I’m talking about the expected leaf raking we will have to do over the next few weeks. Ugh, I’m not looking forward to that. But, we can prepare myself and avoid injury while completing the tasks at hand. I really don’t need to be sidelined with strained back muscles, or a sore neck and shoulders.

Preparing our muscles by stretching or by getting a massage will help immensely. Tight, shortened muscles need to be warmed up and lengthened prior to yard work or any physical activity. The opposing muscle group or antagonistic muscles are generally weakened and over stretched. We need to find balance within both groups of muscle structure to minimize the chance of injury. Massage and exercising will assist in getting us there. Massage will help loosen the tight muscles allowing for full range of movement. And exercising will help the opposing muscles become stronger.

Muscles in your neck, arms, shoulders, back, and hips are typical areas that become sore or injured with yardwork. In the event that you develop a strain or simply have sore muscles you can do a couple of things to help recover. Ice and Ibuprofen are suggested when dealing with inflammation of muscle tissue. Injured areas become inflamed immediately. Ice helps ease muscle pain because it constricts your blood vessels. That keeps blood from pooling at the point of injury, which helps you avoid additional inflammation, swelling, and pain. Massage therapy can help the surrounding muscle structure at the point of injury. These muscles will compensate and accept the workload of the damaged area of the body naturally. Left untouched, they will pull our body out of proper alignment.

Warming up with 10-15 minutes of stretching will help you avoid injury. If stretching doesn’t seem to be helping I’d suggest scheduling a massage. You’ll feel relaxed and improve your flexibility all at the same time.

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