How To Rake Leaves Without Back Pain!

Hey everyone! In this article, we are going to be talking about 3 tips for healthy raking! Have you ever went outside for your fall cleanup and you raked and then you’re back was killing you for days after that?

Or are you someone who has back pain and you’re worried that if I go outside and do that fall cleanup, that my back is going to be killing me?

For more of my visual and auditory learning folks check out this video that shows what I am talking about!



3 Tips For Healthy Raking:


1. Take care of your hands first!


This tip doesn’t actually relate to the back, but it’s about the hands.  Gloves are very important! Make sure you’re wearing gloves to prevent blisters.


The other thing.. Nice little handy thing I do in my rake is I made it a little ergonomic so I could get a better grip.  Initially, it was very skinny. So actually put some duct tape around it helped with my grip to help with the hands so I don’t get any kind of hand pain, a tendinitis in my wrists and hands.


2. Don’t bend from your spine!



Most of you will bend forward when you are raking.  This crouched forward position puts a lot of stress and pressure to the discs in your lower back especially if you get back pain with sitting for long periods of time at work.


One way to decrease that stress to your back is to actually have your back straight and pivot using your hips.  By driving from your hips you are actually using your glutes.  So you’re turning your fall clean up into an exercise so you are actually getting strengthening benefits of a workout all at the same time of knocking off one of the honey dew list items 🙂


Pivoting from your hips is going to help decrease stress to your spine by using your bigger hip muscles.


3.  Switch directions!



Most people will only rake in one direction because that is what we are used to and it is comfortable for us.  The downside of this is you are doing repetitive motion over and over again. That’s how most injuries occur is by doing something too much over and over again.  One way to combat this is for as many times as you go one direction, you need to pivot your feet and switch sides and start raking in the other direction.

This is just going to normalize some of the balance to the muscles in your body and will help decrease the chance that you’re going to be having back pain for days to come after your fall cleanup.




Want to know what you should do before you go outside AND after you are done raking?  You want to stretch your spine into the opposite direction.  Check out this one stretch that has been helpful for many of the clients I have helped over the years who struggle with back pain when they sit, bend, and lift things up from the floor.  I hope it helps you!



If any of these tips were helpful for you, I appreciate you copy and share the link in your browser and share it with a friend!

If you know they have back pain or if they’re going be going out then this can help them!  Think of your husband who is going to be going outside this weekend so he can stay healthy (and this will also prevent him from complaining that his back hurts for the rest of the week)


Have you seen other medical providers in the past that just tell you to stop your activity?


We have a unique treatment approach that focuses on solving these problems with our clients. We combine manual hands-on techniques with guided supervised exercises to help you get stronger, pain-free and perform at your peak level to get you back on in the gym or on the road doing what you love. Our goal is to help keep you active, while recovering from injury by guiding you in ways to modify your training, rather than eliminating training!



The SPARK Physical Therapy Commitment



No long waits or multiple trips to providers’ offices every week. We see you either onsite at a partnering gym or in the comfort of your home when it is convenient with your schedule.

One on one for a full hour with your doctor of physical therapy, every visit. We provide you with a customized plan specifically designed for you, based off your unique injury and goals.

Full transparency in what you pay. You will never get a bill from us a couple of months after your visit.

Access and availability to you! Have a question about your pain or exercise program? Get an answer from your therapist directly.



If you’re in the greater Hamden, CT area and are an active adult that has been dealing with back pain we can help. We’d love to chat for a few minutes and see if you are a good fit for what we do. Fill in this CONTACT REQUEST LINK  and we’ll set up a free-minute phone consultation with a doctor of physical therapy


I have a great day getting outside being active getting that fall cleanup in and a little exercise!

Thank you for taking the time to read and watch the video,


– Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS

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“I developed IT band syndrome during my first marathon training cycle last year and ended up in physical therapy for about 3 months. I was told not to run if I had any pain at all. I lost so much time “recovering” that I ended up deferring my registration to the next year. I spent the next summer training for the same marathon when about 6 weeks out, that familiar IT band pain returned. I could barely finish a mile. I didn’t want to go back to my physical therapist because I knew what he was going to tell me. Stop running. I was so frustrated and started to feel like marathons weren’t for me. I stumbled upon the healthy runner podcast and learned that I don’t have to stop running in order to recover from injury! I was skeptical about an online physical therapy session. But I reached out to Dr. Scotti and he was able to give me the tools to mitigate my pain within the first session! I was able to complete my training cycle and made it to the finish line of my first marathon with his help! I highly recommend!”

Kendyl R. (Runner)

“I’d been dealing with Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT) for about 4 years and had been doing PT, but still had lingering pains. I just figured I’d have to suck it up and deal with it because that was as good as I was going to get. But then, I came across a podcast of Duane being interviewed by Jason Fitzgerald on PHT and how he overcame the injury, and my curiosity was piqued. I met with him virtually and he has been a GODSEND! I’m able to sit as I type this! I can bend over and get in and out of cars without pain! And, I’m RUNNING again!!! It is amazing to be able to do things that I haven’t been able to do without pain since 2016!!! Thank you so much Duane for being an incredible PT!!”

Michelle D. (Runner)

“I suffered from IT band syndrome for four years before seeing Dr. Scotti in April 2020. Before then, I couldn’t run more than about 10 minutes without stabbing pain near my left knee. I’d seen various orthopedists, physical therapists, and chiropractors looking for some relief. My career needed me to run a mile and a half within a certain amount of time, and it was impossible to do so with the knee pain. I saw Dr. Scotti and he immediately got to work! That first visit, he helped me understand the anatomy and underlying cause of my knee pain (aka IT Band syndrome). Once I understood what was happening, the course of treatment made so much sense. Not only did he have online videos of all the recommended exercises to treat the problem, his “healthy runner” Facebook group, Podcast, and YouTube videos held a wealth of information and supplemented my plan. I soon understood that running wasn’t just a casual hobby – it’s a sport and one that deserves dedication and focus. Without his dedication to the sport and his community, I wouldn’t have realized this! Over the next few months, I had many ups and downs – victories and failures – and even some tears! Two steps forward and one step back. Dr. Scotti always checked in between appointments and tweaked my plan if needed. By August, I was regularly running 3-4 miles with barely any pain! If I did get pain, it was because my dedication and focus were lacking – and I quickly picked it back up and overcame. I’m so thankful I took another chance at having my knee looked at and trusted someone else. I run regularly now and am really enjoying it. I can’t thank Dr. Scotti enough and would highly recommend him to anyone having trouble.”

Tracy G. (Runner)

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