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7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain While Raking Leaves

7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain While Raking Leaves

It is that time of year again. The days are growing shorter, the air has a nip to it and the leaves are falling and falling and falling. Time to get the rake out and clean up your yard and walkways.  

Raking leaves, trimming landscape, mowing the lawn and tending to the last of the season yard work brings a sense of closure to the fall season but it can also bring something else – something not welcome – BACK PAIN!!!

One of the most common complaints that we hear following a day of leaf raking/lawn maintenance is lower back pain. The consistent and repetitive movements and bending over can wreak havoc on your back. This pain can result in limited movement, discomfort and even lack of sleep causing you to become irritable and tired and forcing you to miss out on family activities.  

Back pain from raking leaves or other outdoor tasks does not need to happen. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid back pain this fall while maintaining your yard and property.

7 Helpful tips for raking leaves

  • Choose the right rake – Having the right equipment makes all the difference. Your rake needs to be the right size and shape. A rake that is too long or too short will place unwanted strain on your back, core and arms. Narrow rakes will make for lighter and smaller loads. A wide width rake gathers more yet the load will be heavier.
  • Watch your posture – Keep your back straight, knees bent and avoid reaching or stretching with your back – use your arms. Take breaks to stretch if needed
  • Switch hands and wear gloves – Most people will rake or use tools with their dominant hand – switching your hand placement on the rake will reduce repetitive strain and motion and work different areas of the back. Wearing gloves also will reduce the probability of blisters and calluses 
  • Bend at the knees when lifting – Always bend with your knees and keep your back straight – avoid twisting and turning 
  • Use assistance when possible – Mother nature, tarp – leaf blower  –  Let Mother Nature help you – rake with the wind, use a tarp to move heavy wet leaves – use a leaf blower to move leaves to a central area
  • Stay hydrated  Dehydration even in cooler weather can make you susceptible to the effects of heat and can cause muscle pain and cramping. Bring plenty of water with you while outside, and keep track of how much you drink while you are out there. 
  • Work with a Physical Therapist to ease and eliminate your back pain  A few sessions with a specialized back physical therapist can make all the difference.  

Along with these tips, Dr. MIke has put the following video together to demonstrate the proper raking posture and body mechanics to help ease lower back pain while completing all your fall chores. These tips and suggestions will assist with reducing or preventing lower back pain while you complete your necessary fall chores allowing you to get a restful night’s sleep so you can keep up with family and friends at the pumpkin patch or on those great Wisconsin fall hikes.

Working in your yard brings many benefits – fresh air, sunshine and nature.  Back pain does not need to join in  Follow these tips to reduce your chances of “raking up” back pain this fall.  

For more information and helpful tips on reducing.eliminating back pain, Click the button below to request our free 9 Tips for eliminating Back Pain and Staying Pain Free Guide –  it offers helpful DIY starter tips to help get your back feeling better.

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We also offer a FREE back pain consultation to look at your overall pain issues and look for the root problem.  Click here to request a FREE session today!

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Doctors Jereme and Sarah Trunk

Balance Within Integrative Physical Therapy

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