June “Mow”tivation

While the other seasons each bring their own sense of charm and whimsy, it seems that summer has a far more permanent hold on the human psyche. The reminders that summer is America’s obsession are everywhere, Corona commercials on TV, multi-color bathing suits in the stores, and countless other bright, sunny things bombard the senses. Summer images are care-free and fun-loving for the most part, but if you ask me the most iconic summer image involves pushing my trusty Toro, because as my father always said, “The grass doesn’t mow itself.”

Now I want to clarify, I don’t hate mowing, in fact, I enjoy it. I find it meditative, even therapeutic. The thing is yard work, though therapeutic, often leads people to physical therapy. Operating a mower is more hazardous to your health than one would think. Attach a razor-sharp spinning blade on the bottom of a small combustion engine and serious bodily harm has the potential to occur. Fortunately, the worst injuries are mostly summer blockbuster horror movie fodder. The real issues, however, come from the basic things.

On a weekly basis, I see patients that have injured their body from yard work. Symmetrical movements are usually painless but add the slightest improvisation and its a recipe for trouble. Mowing is primarily symmetrical; it is, however, in the fine details where injury can occur. Starting a mower puts a great deal of force on the hip and shoulders, not to mention the back. This pressure could contribute to rotator cuff trauma or lumbar disc herniation. The potential for developing injury goes on and on but what is the solution? Do we just say “forget it” and let our yard grow to resemble the Amazon rainforest or do we forge on risking life and limb to keep the pool area clean? The choice is yours, after all, we need somewhere to drink our Coronas and wear our pink and yellow bikinis.

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