It’s yard work season! And what a season it’s been already. Wet. Rain. Water. And just enough sunshiny days to make the grass (and weeds) grow.
And while hydrating is critical for our health, I’m not sure all this rain is what is needed!
One of the necessary evils in our efforts to keep our yards looking good is ‘weed whacker’ duty. Those pesky corners, those uneven edges, and those slopes too steep to run your high-dollar, zero turn grass monster over – all need the personal touch of the weed whacker. No other way around it, at some point you’ve got to fire up the noisy, irritating, ear-drum shattering machine and wade in.
There are several safety and health factors related to power weed whacking that are worth discussing. Let’s start with the noise. Unless you have an electric machine, you are producing noise well above the level that can damage your hearing. A typical gas powered weed whacker can almost knock weeds down just with the noise they produce – a whopping 97 decibels! And it only takes 85db to damage hearing. So – wear hearing protection. Ear plugs reduce noise by 20 to 30db, and good ear muffs can reduce it by another 30. Get them. And use them. Any more, with our health-conscious society, they look cool anyway.
The same thing can be said about eye protection. This is real. I know my safety glasses are covered with grass shards every time I pull them off. Get a pair and use them.
Clothing? Think about shredded poison ivy sprayed across your exposed legs and arms. I know it’s hot, but wear long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. You’ll thank me when you don’t have to scratch your itching skin to pieces.
But how about structural dangers with a weed whacker? First, there is the damage done by twisting. Pull starting the weed machine is one potentially dangerous part of this chore. And as much damage is done by poorly-starting gas engines as is done by lifting them. So get your engine tuned regularly.
The action of running the machine also tends to require a twisting back and forth as you sweep areas that need to get trimmed. Keep your motion slow and controlled. Don’t let momentum carry you through a huge twist. Don’t go to the full extent of your range of motion. Deliberately restrict your twisting to about 75% of what you know you can comfortably do.
Reaching forward is another motion to be aware of – and to minimize. As you bend forward you multiply the weight and strain on your low back. (And on every other joint you are using in this chore, for that matter.) Move your feet to get closer to your work – don’t try to save time by reaching forward beyond your natural stance.
Using a shoulder strap to help carry the weight of the machine is a good idea, too. This takes some of the load off your arms and distributes it more evenly, saving strain on your weight bearing joints in your low back, as well as your elbows and shoulders.
And finally, time. If you have a lot of edging and large swaths of long grass or weeds that require the attention of the weed whacker, break it up into smaller chunks of time. No one says you have to do it all in the same day. Avoid fatiguing yourself, and you will avoid many injuries.
So – weeds – bring it on. We are ready for you!
Ready? Get out there and whack those weeds. But do it safely. You’ll need the help of Delta Chiropractic Center less frequently for the acute back pain episodes. Then you can relax, enjoy your maintenance visits, and get the most out of your healthy spine. Give us a call today at (517) 321-3030!