Painless Leaf Raking

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year….until I have to rake leaves. It is such time-consuming, tedious hard work. Somehow, it is exhausting to gather and compile tiny little pieces of plant material! Just as infrequent exercise can cause spinal subluxation and muscle strain, a simple activity like raking can quietly wreak havoc on the body when it involves muscles that aren’t used on a regular basis. Hopefully you have a riding mower with a leaf bagger, but if not, here are some tips to save your back while raking:

1)   Drink water. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget when it’s cool outside. However, water is just as important to supporting healthy spinal tissue now as in the summer months.

2)  Stand up straight, keeping your head up and looking forward while mowing or raking.

3)  Bend at the knees, not the waist, even if just picking up piles of leaves. Back strain can occur simply by moving in an unnatural or awkward position, not just from lifting heavy objects.

4)  Use ergonomically designed tools when available.

5)  While raking, use a scissors stance to balance weight and encourage proper posture: right foot forward, left foot back for a few minutes. Then switch, putting your left foot forward, and right foot back.

6) If you pull a muscle or experience back pain, apply ice for 10-20 minutes, several times a day.


Back pain is extremely common, and one of the top reasons Americans seek out chiropractic treatment. In fact, up to 50% of working US citizens have experienced back pain this year. Please use these tips as a reminder of proper habits while tending to your yard, and don’t let back pain get you down!