7 Tips for Raking Leaves with Less Back Pain


One of the most common complaints heard in PT clinics is low back pain after several hours of raking leaves, shoveling or doing other yard work.

Repetitive bending, lifting and twisting increases stresses on your low back muscles and joints, causing fatigue, pain and possibly even injury. These tips will help minimize those risks.


Tip 1: Warm up

Prior to starting, take a walk to improve blood flow and loosen up muscles as bending forward to stretch may increase back pain.

Tip 2: Make the rake fit you

Use a rake that correlates with your height to avoid compromising your posture and straining your muscles.

Tip 3: Watch your posture

Keep your legs slightly bent, weight centered, and reach with your arms and not your back. Take plenty of breaks to stand up and gently stretch into a back bend three to five times every 20 minutes.

Tip 4: Switch hands

Avoid over-stressing muscles with repeated motions in the same direction; switch your lead arm to prevent muscle exhaustion.

Tip 5: Rake smart

Rake with the wind to help your efficiency and consider using a tarp to transport leaves to avoid repetitively bending forward to pick up piles. Consider using a leaf blower to save time and energy.

Tip 6: Drink plenty of water

Your muscles need water to function optimally, meaning they coordinate with each other to support your physical activity.

Tip 1: Wear appropriate apparel

Wear good supportive footwear and consider skid-resistant soles to decrease the stresses placed on your feet, legs, and subsequently back. Wear clothing appropriate for maintaining a comfortable body temperature.

As always, if you’re experiencing persistent back pain, we’re here to help. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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